Thursday, February 10, 2011

Part 4 Southward Winter Walk ~ BRP 279.6 to BRP MP 280.5

 This contrary walk is a southward journey from section to section as they weave back and forth along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Watauga.
Stepping out from the trail, just one week after the big snow there are still drift remnants at the end of part 3. 
 This part is one of our longer roadside stretches. At .9 mile it seems exposed after hiking the last 3 miles in the forest. But this is a nice "stepping out" with several open and big views. The west side shoulder of the road is the preferred route.
 This lone pine stands against a Carolina Blue sky as a sentinel directing your attention along the roadside.

 Soon a curve to the west opens ~

~ and rounds out into reverse curve to the east.
 Across the open pasture on the west side of the BRP there is a great distant view of Elk Knob Mountain.
 The pasture is a working horse farm.
 This old row of maples stand stout from trimming over the years. In October they are gorgeous.
 Friends recognize friendlies along the way. Perhaps hoping for a hand of hay or an apple.
 The stable sits in the low west side of the valley.
 You can see the old 421 highway beyond the stable, that's Wildcat Flea Market.Wildcat road is adjacent to this local attraction. The contrary hiker crossed Wildcat road in the precious section, part 3.
 After a short climb the contrary hiker will notice a traffic sign on the east side of the parkway near BRP MP 280.5.
 This speed limit sign is a landmark that indicates where the MST trail enters the forest again. The trail head is just about 15 feet beyond this sign on the east side of the BRP. It climbs into the rhododendron on the roadside bank.
 I M or I AM ~ though I wonder if I would be if I had seen these shots being fired! ;-)
And here is the trail head, on the east side just past the speed limit sign.

The blue line indicates the trail as it passes along the shoulder of the BRP in this part. Forested trail is shown in Red. Notice the exit points onto the parway. You will also see Wildcat road and the curved road at the top is Old 421.

   I am posting a map created by Arthur Kelley.
I have included a close-up section of the map for each of these parts to the Watauga Section. These maps have been constructed by Master mapmaker Arthur Kelley. Arthur has hiked all these sections, logged his GPS coordinates and overlaid them on the contour maps. They are also linked to Google Earth and you can explore from the overflight of this magnificent high country therein. This is a wonderful, helpful, and impressive volunteer effort from this friend of the MST. Thank you Arthur Kelly.

A link to his maps is provided here for your perusal.

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