Amidst the turmoil of the Great Depression
and political controversies over Federal public works projects, like TVA, the Blue Ridge Parkway was borned in 1933. Virginia Senator Harry Flood Byrd skillfully sandbagged FDR during a Sunday drive in the Shenandoah National Park, an easy escape from Washington, by suggesting a great scenic road connecting the Shenandoah and Smoky Mountains Parks. “Pump the economy, create a national
treasure, and employ the unemployed.” What could be more seductive.
First and foremost, The Blue Ridge Parkway is a road - meant to be driven. It highwires along the crest of the Eastern Blue Ridge tracking thru the middle of a two to six hundred foot right-of-way, a narrow ribbon of spectacular real estate. Landscape architects purposefully incorporated grades and curves into the experience, punctuated by abrupt openings, to surprise and impress us with unexpected g-forces.
The preferred way to experience the Parkway, however, would be to live a full day along a relatively short stretch, from predawn thru dusk, walking the shoulders and side trails. Absorbing every detail. Stay overnight if possible, but watch out. Soon after taking this shot from Mile High Overlook (milepost 458) a kind and gentle Park Ranger rousted me from my sleeping bag insisting that I not camp on his turf. I nearly asked him if he knew an Officer B. F. Hoggbutt but thought better of it and moved along, cautiously north, into the night.
Title: © Mile High
Series: Blue Ridge Parkway
Location: Haywood County, North Carolina
Date: Friday 11 August 2000