The Great Fall Color Chase Part III

Fall 2018…The more the water the better the fall!

We continued our adventures along the high country of the Blue Ridge Parkway for a second day in search of Fall Colors.

Alas, the weather outlook did not look promising. The forecast was for rain over much of the Blue Ridge, and the first thing that greeted us out of our base of operations was a very low cloud ceiling.

Well, maybe not the first thing.

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We’re wizards when it comes to fall!

But we were still hopeful. Sometimes the rain can really bring out the fall colors. We crossed out fingers and hoped for the best! But we didn’t bet everything on mere hopes. As it was likely to be a soggy day, we decided a waterfall hike might be the best thing. The more water the better the fall.

Right out of the gate, things looked pretty grim. By the time we hit Craggy Gardens, visibility was at most one hundred yards. As we rose toward the ridge of Mt. Mitchell, things began to look so bad that Brian, the storied M.E.P. and helmsman of the Jeep, debated whether it was even safe to continue.

Abruptly, we crossed a gap where clouds were literally streaming over and beyond it…the fog cleared! We were free of the clouds and, suddenly, there were the BEST fall colors we had seen yet! The water really did bring out the fall!

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After taking in the colors we journeyed down to Crabtree Falls where a short but steep trail leads to one of the best waterfalls in the Blue Ridge. Ironically, we had stayed near here just a few weeks earlier during the episode where nephew Mikey’s tent leaked. But we had skipped the falls on that day, not thinking the popular hike worth the while. Boy were we wrong! And on this wet day, the falls were REALLY going. You can read the full trip report here.

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The water really did bring out the fall!

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Gisella and Leonard were VERY impressed with the Blue Ridge. After seeing it as many times as we have, it’s easy to forget how stunning it truly is. We’ve been coming up here so long, and comparing it to the best of others things we have seen (like the Andes and Alps) that sometimes its easy to just dismiss the Appalachians.

Not many views, there’s always a tree in the way, the waterfalls aren’t that big, there’s no glacier and no alpine zone to speak of…there are crowds, too many summits with roads, not enough open summits in general, too much pollution, and don’t get Brian started on Gatlinburg…grumble grumble grumble.

But then you see it through the eyes of others and realize, you forgot what made the place so charming to begin with. The Appalachians may not be the BEST range of mountains in the world but they sure have a ton to offer, and its was great to see them again through another, fresher pair of eyes.

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Just as we helped Gisella and Leonard discover the Appalachians, they helped us to re-discover what we loved about them.

In any hunt it’s always the thrill of the chase that is the point, not the kill. So it is with a successful Fall Color Chase, 2018. We hope for even better and brighter things next year!

But of course…we’ll be busy preparing for Patagonia.

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