Milepost 417 on the Blue Ridge Parkway

©bjbowen photography
Milepost 417 has a beautiful mountain stream with one main waterfall (not pictured) and many cascading beauties like this one.

ok… I thought the weekend adventures were over, but, Sunday morning, Blossom loaded Miles and I in the car and we went to Sunday brunch at Mayfel’s in downtown Asheville, NC.

She hitched us to the fence and we hung out on the sidewalk beside her and lots of people came by and petted us. Some days, you can just feel the love, can’t ya? Miles even went belly up for this one super-sweet blue-eyed guy.

After brunch was over, we got back in the car and headed for our favorite hike, milepost 417 on the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP). It’s about a 45 minute drive, mostly with breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the parkway.

ParkwayMap-417Commonly called, “America’s Favorite Drive,” the Blue Ridge Parkway is celebrating is 78th anniversary as a product of the New Deal effort to provide jobs during the Great Depression. The parkway covers 469 miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.

With all the hiking trails, waterfalls, rolling mountain vistas, I feel so lucky that the BRP is so close to Asheville, NC, where I live.

The trail is located just across the road from the Looking Glass Overlook. From Asheville, follow the parkway South and count the mileposts and when you reach milepost 417, you’re at the spot.

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©bjbowen photography
This is one of the log stairways that is built into the hillside.

The trail is clearly marked and has lots of boulders and smaller rocks, several log stairways and sweet, wet air. Miles and I ran and ran and ran — oh and we had a buddy join us, Dande.

Dande ran even faster than us, running circles and circles and then she would run back to Miles and lick his mouth.

When we approached the waterfall, Blossom was worried because there’s this small bridge with railing one one side and well, we have a problem with the notion of “single file.” So, she quickly ushered us across with her human buddy and she and her camera gear followed behind.

Once we crossed the bridge, we scooted up the trail and up and over the mountain winding through more lush rhododendrons, moss-covered rocks and log stairs built into the hillside. So much to see! So much to smell!

I wanted to sniff all of it.

417TRAIL-IMG_4307

©bjbowen photography
My older brother, Miles. Usually, he’s much more dainty than he looks in this photo.

Then, it came time to turn around. Dande, Miles and me were all feeling so good from all of our running. I overheard Blossom’s friend call the trail that we were on a “goat trail.” I don’t know what that means, but, I like goats. I think.

It is a rocky, uneven trail, but, sooo much fun and not too strenuous at any point —easy uphills and downhills.

When we returned to the waterfall, Blossom really wanted some photos and we were now calm enough to be trusted around the water and somewhat slick rocks. She still moved quickly across the bridge and went down to the stream where it would be safe for us. I think she’s disappointed that she was too worried about us to get a photo of the main waterfall, but, she climbed down a bank, holding on to roots, scurrying around and over boulders, then a little light rock hopping and finally got a good shot of a smaller cascade of water.

I was worried about her! I mean, she was out on that rock in the middle of the stream and I thought she was going to slip and fall! Dande followed her out and stood on a tiny rock in the stream and howled at her to get to shore.

After Blossom took the photos she wanted, we continued on the trail back to the parking lot.

It was a long drive back home, but, I remember very little of it. zzzzz

417TRAIL-IMG_4374

©bjbowen photography
This is one of the many spectacular views from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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©bjbowen photography 2013
I am exhausted!

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