Saturday, May 24, 2008

Cedar Cliffs Hike

The Blue Ridge Parkway extends 469 miles from the end of Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina. Like Skyline Drive, the AT roughly follows the Blue Ridge Parkway meandering back and forth across the road for about the northern 100 miles. Just like along Skyline Drive, this gives the day hiker easy access to the trail at several points.
Azalea is in bloom

Today I hiked south from Dripping Rock parking area halfway to the next road crossing and back again. This took me past Cedar Cliffs overlook. It was a beautiful, clear morning so the view was fabulous. There was a group of about 8 at the overlook when I got there. They were making pictures, enjoying the view and each others company. One of the gentlemen asked me how far I was going and when I told him, he informed me that I would probably see the rest of their group. They had dropped off the rest of their group (14 others) at the Three Ridges parking area and they were hiking this way. Sure enough, I met them about an hour later on down the trail. Everyone spoke as they passed and I continued on my way for about another half hour. I rested a few minutes then turned around to head back to the truck.
Shenandoah Valley as seen from Cedar Cliffs

When I got back to Cedar Cliffs, the whole gang was still there just relaxing and taking in the beauty of the creation. What a wonderful way to spend the day. Here was a large group of friends (apparently a regular hiking group) who had come out to do a 4 mile stretch of trail. Those that didn’t want to do that much hiking, were soaking up a few rays at the overlook. If I had looked closely, I probably would have seen a thermos of coffee and Danish. It made me wonder why people don’t get out more.
Fringe Tree in bloom

It was truly a gorgeous day to be out and the only thing seemingly more plentiful than the fresh air and breathtaking views were the azalea and fringe trees in full bloom.

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