After we left the Biltmore Gardens on our ninth day of vacation, we drove the short distance to downtown Asheville. We ate lunch, walked around and grabbed some coffee at the delicious Green Sage Cafe.
With us deciding to skip bike riding at the Biltmore, we made the decision to drive back to our cabin on the Blue Ridge Parkway instead of the highway. With the government being shut down there were a lot of scenic stops that were closed down. Luckily there were still some great state choices that were open.
The Blue Ridge Parkway has an app that you can download and even though it has great information; it isn't accessible from the parkway itself. At least not where we were at. There just isn't reliable internet service to trust anything digital. So we went old school. We used road maps and road signs to guide us the rest of the day.
In doing so, we came across Mt. Mitchell State Park. We decided to take the chance and see if there were any good hiking trails.
Wow, what an amazing find we stumbled across.
Mt. Mitchell is the tallest point East of the Mississippi. 6684 Ft. It was the highest we've ever been and the scenery is breathtaking.
Standing on top of the mountain and watching the clouds float through you is just an awesome experience especially for this flat land Texas family.
The weather conditions on top of Mt. Mitchell are harsh. Everything looked dead, and there were only a few species of plants and animals that make their home that high up.
We took the Balsam Nature Trail from the peak. The sun was getting close to setting and the clouds were getting thicker. The whole trail had a deep blue hue to it. I've heard of this being called blue hour instead of the traditional golden hour at sunset. It was stunning.
On our way back up to our car, we noticed the visitor center had closed down and there weren't but two other people on the mountain with us. They were taking turns photographing each other so I offered to take their picture together. We got to talking and they were from Texas too. Then we found out they were from the same city as us. Then the same neighborhood! Literally they were our neighbors from a few blocks down. It's crazy that we had to drive across the country to meet our neighbors, but we did.
At that point, we decided it would be in our best interest to head down the mountain and slowly make our way back to the cabin.
We stopped several times at different lookouts to get the perfect sunset shot of the Blue Ridge Parkway. In the photo above, the view of Mt. Mitchell shows just how cloudy the peak was while we were up there.
Once the sun went down the Parkway was a little more interesting to maneuver. Slow going, we made it back to the cabin about 8:30 that night. We had a very long day, but it really did turn out to be one the best adventures during our trip.