Parts of Alexander County are very friendly to backroad gawking and photography. This shot, taken a week ago today, is the first from my recent winter trip. Ground level steaming from winter dew did not show as well as I had hoped. Heart level steaming was unaffected.
My old backroads buddy H-Man Slim, superb map manager and creative navigator (tho' occasionally prone to rookie mistakes), recently demonstrated the folly of my complacent attitude that new roads within a day's drive cannot be found. Without laser guidance or global positioning H-Man sniffed out a magnificent watershed in the Cherokee National Forest named Citico Creek. Sporting stove-sized boulders strewn about by some epochal catastrophe, the creek maintains a wadable roadside intimacy for mile after agreeable mile. We marveled and filled flash drives with memorable zeros and ones. A day trip away.
This shot was taken along the Blue Ridge Parkway, near mile post 238 elevation 3400 feet, in Alleghany County, North Carolina. A formidable storm cloud exhaled a radiant breath of diaphanous silver light. The Laurel and I were both caught off guard. Fourteen years later, actually 10 days ago, I splashed by this spot in a driving rain wet brakes shuddering with scornful displeasure. Did not stop for another shot.
Silent, like the shadow from a passing cloud, the Spring Line glides swiftly Northward. Inexorable, and ghostly at times. Appearing here, disappearing there. Leaving behind but sensations and impressions that must wait another year to be affirmed. Don't blink; don't hesitate. Follow along, find the crest and hop aboard the dappled surge 'till it heaves its final sigh. Leaving me undone, jostling for another wave.
Mile 50.9, 1:40 pm. "Arrive Cr 1328 near Adako. There's a sign - USFS Pisgah, Mortimer Campground, 8.5 miles. Turn right on Cr 1328, head north to Mortimer. Recent storm. Many trees blown down. Hope roads are clear. There's a skunk."
Mile 53.6, 1:50 pm. "Cr 1328 skirts beside a great gorge. The gorge carries Wilson Creek for a tremendous run over and around beautiful rock formations. Recreation abounds. Even on Wednesday. Cars, swimmers, bathers, yuppies cruisin', kayakers."
It's still possible to find a heritage dirt road. It's still possible to find a stunning farm valley with rolling wooded ridges. Bulging storm clouds accented with dramatic light still pass here and there. Finding a place and time when all work together, however, supersedes the Laws of Chance.
. The lights have been switched on, windows opened, truck unpacked, and scorched grass watered. It's time to reflect and savor the past 16 days of hard work and splendid Blue Ridge Backroads now flashing thru my mind at 24 frames a second. These instant reruns will gradually fade as my adrenalin again turns back to putty. For the moment, at least, I can still sense the road rumbling under me and wonder why I'm sleeping in a mattress bed instead of the back of the truck. The first stop on Day 1 outgoing, and last stop on Day 16 incoming, coincided at a neat spot in the headwaters of the North Fork French Broad River, along State Route 215, Transylvania County North Carolina. I tried to explain my journey, however the restless waters seemed disinclined to listen. Soon, a summary posting with itinerary map and essential trip Stats will be ready for your continued interest and breathless entertainment. "Backroads rule!"
. North Fork French Broad River Transylvania County, North Carolina Monday 21 May, Tuesday 5 June 2007