Saturday, May 06, 2006

Blue Ridge Parkway - Day 3 Hiking

We drove up the road to the Visitor's Center to hike up to Linville Falls.
This gorgeous Dogwood was in bloom outside the door.

At the center, were surprised to learn that our campground is
the ONLY campground open on the Parkway right now!

We'll make alternative plans just in case.
In the meantime, we're ready for our hike!

As we crossed the bridge over the Linville River...

we waved hello to this angler, fishing for Trout.

The trail is so beautiful...birds chirping everywhere, and the heady
scent of pine needles.

The trail yields many small treasures along the way...

The river becomes more insistent as we trek...

And rushing water hints of things to come.

Rusty likes dipping his paws in!

Idyllic views at every turn.

Even a tiny miracle on the wing...

Ron and Rusty journey on. Rusty is doing a spectacular
job of guiding Ron over the uneven terrain.

Including steep stairs...

Uneven steps...

Up the stairs...

Even through narrow passage ways sliced between two boulders...

and UP again!
Rusty concentrates to make sure he keeps Ron safe.

We're almost there!

And it's soooooo worth it!

Can you see the river far below?

The forest is blooming with tiny hybrid rhododendrons.
The big rhodies are budding, but not quite ready to
burst forth yet. It will be absolutely eye-popping when they do!

We climbed higher yet, for the final views of the falls...

Rusty admires the view too!

Ron and Rusty rest a spell...

While I check out the flowers!

This delicate blossom is a forest jewel...

Fallen to earth from the laden branches...

Back down the mountain we go, encountering this little
hut to protect hikers on a rainy day.

When we went inside, the walls were covered with greetings
and proclamations of love. We discovered another Tina from
from "who knows where" had left her mark in the structure!

Rusty and I share a final viewpoint...

We loved our hike this morning and are ready for lunch.
A delicate Trillium bids us farewell.