Back in October I decided to run my first 8k race in Asheville. The weather was chilly in the morning and the race went nicely. I finished just ahead of my goal which always feels good. After doing a few 5k lengths in the summer I felt in pretty good shape, but I had definitely not trained enough for the longer length. As I left i felt pretty sore. I’d already planned to do some hiking and photography along the Blue Ridge Parkway and didn’t let the sore muscles get in the way of my plans.
I decided to work along the stretch of the Parkway from Asheville to the southwest hoping I could get somewhere around Waynesville before dark. While my sore muscles progressively complained about the work of hiking around, I did find some nice shots along the way. While the color wasn’t as strong as I’d hoped, there were still pockets of nice yellows and reds among the higher elevations in the mountains. Heavy clouds and overcast covered the sky most of the with the sun making only the occasional appearance toward evening.
First a panorama centered toward Looking Glass, a popular climbing spot in the summer. There is a trail up this rock that I’m going to put onto my list to try to make it up come warmer weather in the spring. I’d like to have a companion shot looking back toward this lookout from the mountain.
The temperatures at these elevations were already cool. The rain never really amounted to much more than the occasional sprinkle, but wind started coming in later in the day. By the time I reached an outcrop known as the Devil’s Courthouse the combination made the weather downright chilly. Before climbing a strenuous half mile trail up to the top, I did this photo of the Devil’s Courthouse itself.
According to legend, the devil holds court in a cave beneath this rock giving it the name. I’d already made several miles of hiking by the time I got here, and it was on the climb the soreness in my legs became more severe. Knowing it was probably my last stop of the day, I continued reaching the summit. The views were spectacular, but the weather was not. Wind and sun combined to leave the views spectacular, but not photogenic. I did find one nice moment with the sun helping to bring out color in the valley below.
After this trip I pretty much had no energy and more than an hour and a half to drive home. So I called it a day and made my way back home. As I neared my exit from the Parkway though I did come across a wonderful moment as the sun dipped low behind the now rapidly clearing clouds. I pulled off to an overlook where I took the following pair of shots.