My friend Nick had messaged me about a week before this day trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway. He was heading down from Ohio to get lost in the mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway was calling. He wanted to know if I wanted to meet up on the Parkway on Saturday to photograph a sunset. I told him I would see if Jody and myself had any plans and would get back to him. A couple days latter I messaged him and told him Jody and myself would meet him, we were all excited to go out and hang out. Nick had his heart set on the Cowee Mountain Overlook at mile marker 430 in Western North Carolina and I had never shot a sunset from this location, so I was game.
As Saturday rolled around I started packing my gear and a cooler for the day. Jody and I left around 12:30 and started on I-26 towards Asheville, N.C. and like many times before I stop at the North Carolina visitors section on the right as you come into the state. However, when we arrived this time Jody and I noticed all of the blooming rhododendrons, azaleas and pretty much everything else. Obviously, I got a little side tracked, I am a sucker for blooming flowers and I found a giant bumble bee that peaked my interest. Jody yelled over to me and said I just saved a butterfly. Apparently I had hit one on the way and she found it sticking out of the grill of my car. She took it and set next to a puddle of water hoping it would drink some of it. I ended up putting him n a tree, I think he was a little shook up. His wings were fine and he was starting to move around. Naturally I grabbed my camera and photographed him where I was leaving him.
After leaving our little friend we started back out along I-26 towards to Asheville, NC. My wife said she was getting hungry so we quickly drive through Bojangles and grabbed us some lunch, I ate mine while I drove. Finally we made it to Asheville and on to the turn off, "Bat Cave Rd." You can never forget that name, I always sing the Batman theme song in my head or out-loud when we get to it.
We started making our way up the mountain out Asheville, NC and fog started to set in really thick. In some spots you could barely see about 2 feet in front of you and on top of that you had to watch out for bicyclers. We were meeting Nick at his hotel on the Parkway, the Pisgah Inn. We were suppose to meet him at 4:30, but somehow I ended up getting there an hour early. I ended up walking around and checking out a couple of the nearby overlooks. You couldn't see squat, the fog was just so thick. Jody and I just decided to head back to the parking lot. Nick ended up being there and was in the process of checking in. We had one more guy meeting us there, he was an Instagrammer Nick knew named Tyler. Tyler was running late and after about 30 minutes Nick texted him, he ended going the wrong way and was at the Waterrock Knob Overlook. We decided to just meet in the middle at our planned overlook "Cowee Mountain".
We all started off on the Parkway and Nick and myself agreed to stop if there were openings in the fog and see if their were any shots to be had. About 5 miles in it opened up near the Mountains to Sea Trail that traverses part of the Parkway. I was happy with this, I really liked the shot I got of the trail. I walked into the middle of the Parkway as well, I was drawn to the way the road bent with all of the fresh green leaves on the trees. Fog ended up taking back over and we were off again. We noticed one clear spot were you could see Canton, NC and Logan Lake, but decided to move on at this time. We wanted to get to the overlook Tyler was now waiting on us at. All of a sudden about 2 miles from our planned overlook, the clouds opened and rays of light were dancing in the valley. I slammed my brakes on, probably scaring Nick who was right behind me. We pull into to a spot and I jump out camera in hand. I didn't use a tripod, my shutter speed was plenty fast enough to not make it blurry. We had 10 minutes of the best light we ended up getting for the entire day. Once the fog moved in, we went on up to meet Tyler.
Tyler was there, camera out and ready. He had the same opening in the fog we did, just at a different angle. We mingled and hung out in the fog. I ended up pulling out some fold up chairs as we all talked. Jody stayed in the car, she had the heat on full blast and was in her happy place. It was a bit nippy, but I enjoyed the cool air. We talked about some experiences, shared some images and just enjoyed some great time talking to one another. Eventually we decided to pack it up and head back towards Asheville, maybe we would catch an opening on the way back. I ended up leading the group down the Parkway. That spot we passed and didn't stop opened back up. It was right on mile marker 430. I pulled off here were many others had made a make shift parking spot. Nick and Tyler found a spot as well. Fog was rolling over the trees across from me, I really liked how it looked so I focused on that. Eventually, you guessed it, the fog moved back in. Nick said if we didn't stop again he was heading back to the hotel to eat, he had been driving all day and had not eaten. Tyler was heading back towards Asheville and Jody and myself were heading back home. We passed the Pisgah Inn and Nick pulled off, it was getting dark so I pulled off to grab a drink out of the cooler. Tyler passed and we waved, that was it. Our day came to an end. Even though we didn't get our sunset, we had a great time. The chase was fun, the conversation was great and a new friendship was made.
Thanks for reading and if you see any pictures you would like prints of, please head over to the contact page and send me a message.