Asheville, NC – North Carolina Arboretum

We are members of the arboretum and visit at least once per month. For many other arboretum posts, search by “ranger annette north carolina arboretum”.

It has been such a HOT summer. It will end up being the hottest on record. Still too hot to get out and do much of a hike. So, we went ahead today and completed our monthly visit to the arboretum. Didn’t do anything at the arboretum today but stroll around the gardens.

Here are a few photos of what was blooming today. Steve ended up doing an Orka photo shoot at the house this past week, so included a photo of her at the end.

North Carolina Arboretum address: 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC

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Blue Ridge Parkway – Chestoa View Overlook (Milepost 320.8)

Since it had been so hot at home, we headed up onto the Blue Ridge Parkway today hoping to take a cooler walk. Our destination was actually Orchard at Altapass. We had our picnic at their picnic shelter. But, it was still pretty darn hot there, so we decided not to tackle the trails there today. So, we headed north on Blue Ridge Parkway looking for cooler weather in higher elevations. 8 miles north and about 1,500 feet higher in elevation, when we arrived at Chestoa View Overlook it felt considerably cooler. Here you have a couple of picnic tables, a viewing area, and a trail with a viewing area.

When most people come to Chestoa View Overlook, they just take the stone stairs down to the rock wall overlook, and then move on. But, we always walk the 6/10 of a mile Chestoa View Trail. This is a pretty easy trail.

We first took off on the trail. Not far after you take off on the trail, you come to a fork. We always take the right fork. Eventually you come to a viewing area on the trail. I don’t think most people know that there’s another viewing area. You have a great view of Table Rock from here. After enjoying the views here, we then headed back to check out the views near the parking area where we enjoyed views of Linville Gorge and Grandfather Mountain.

Here are a few photos from today. Also took some photos this past week at home of a deer and her baby. Included one of those photos. The twins were up this week too, so included one photo of them.

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Chestoa View Trail trailhead. The steps down to the rock overlook are to the left.

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A stroll through the woods

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At the fork, we usually go to the right

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These next 4 photos were some blooms on the trail

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If you’d like, you can sit and enjoy the view

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A view to the north from the trail

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View of Table Rock from the trail

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Now we are back at the main viewing area off the parking area. That is Grandfather Mountain way in the background.

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Zooming in on Grandfather Mountain. If you look to the left, you will barely see the condo on the top of Sugar Mountain.

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A view straight ahead from the overlook

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And then a view over to the right

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Time to head back up the steps to the parking area

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Mama and baby down the hill from our house

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Sawyer and Eli helping Pops with laundry

 

 

Blue Ridge Parkway – Price Lake Loop / Lakeview Overlook (Milepost 297.1)

I had read that the rhododendrons were blooming at Price Lake, so we headed up onto the parkway to take this easy 2.3 mile loop walk.

47 acre Price Lake is part of Julian Price Memorial Park. There are a couple of different places to park. Today we chose to park at Lakeview Overlook. This is where most people park to rent canoes / kayaks.

We took off heading north. A path takes you into the woods and past an amphitheater. You will eventually walk through one of the campgrounds. You are then back into the woods, and then come out at Price Lake Overlook. You then cross the bridge and then head into the woods. You’ll see the trail sign / steps after you cross the bridge. You are now walking on the north side of the lake, winding through rhododendrons, and enjoying great views of Grandfather Mountain. When you arrive at the back end of the trail, you will cross a boggy area and Laurel Creek on a boardwalk. You then start heading back on the other side of the lake. Eventually the trail completely levels out. This is where  you are now walking on the wheelchair accessible section of the trail. You eventually cross over Boone Fork and then it’s not far back to the parking area.

Here are a few photos from today.

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View from where we parked

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Not long after we started our walk, ran across this bear alert

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After passing through the campground, this was the view as we were arriving at Price Lake Overlook area

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A couple of kayakers enjoying the lake

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Information board about Julian Price Memorial Park at Price Lake Overlook

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Mileage sign as we are heading into the woods

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Walking through rhododendron tunnel

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View of Grandfather Mountain from the trail

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Another view of Grandfather Mountain from another spot

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Nearing the back end of the lake

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Boardwalk / viewing area over Laurel Creek

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Laurel Creek that runs into Price Lake

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We’re across the lake from the Blue Ridge Parkway bridge that crosses the lake

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We’re on the bridge over Boone Fork that flows into Price Lake

 

 

Swannanoa, NC – Charles D Owen Park / Warren Wilson College River Trail East

Today we headed over to Charles D Owen Park to walk the portion of the River Trail that we have never walked before. We normally come to this area and park in the gravel parking area on Warren Wilson Rd right before you get to the college (if you’re coming from Asheville). The part of the River Trail that we normally take is called River Trail West. Today we wanted to check out River Trail East. That trailhead starts at Charles D Owen Park and eventually meets up with River Trail West. It’s a 1.8 mile round trip walk.

Charles D Owen Park has two large pavilions for rent, three lighted baseball fields, two outdoor basketball courts, restrooms, playground, concessions (during baseball games), picnic tables, grills, and a 1 mile “figure-eight” walking and bird watching trail. The Swannanoa river is a fish hatchery supported river, and the two small lakes at Owen Park are open for lakeside fishing.

When we started our walk today from the parking area, we walked across the walkway that takes you between the two lakes. We then turned right and walked along the upper lake. It’s a little tricky to find the trailhead for River Trail East because it’s not marked. But as we were walking along the upper lake after turning right, as we were taking the next right along the upper end of the lake, we saw a tiny trail down below the bank, on our left. This is the trailhead.

Some of our time was walking along the river, and some not. We eventually came to a meadow that I’m pretty sure is used for some reason by the college. I do have to admit that we didn’t make it all the way to the end where it meets up with River Trail West. We just became kind of bored, and along with that, it was hot and muggy and the gnats were really being pests. We weren’t really enjoying ourselves so we turned around and went back to the car. We may give this a try again when the weather is alot cooler.

Here are a few photos from the walk today. The twins were up for the 4th of July, so there are a few photos from that day.

Also, if you are not aware of where this park is at, and use this address to find the park, you might be a little leary when you arrive at the address. There is what seems to be an old abandoned factory. You’ve got to drive around to the back of it and go to the right. You’ll eventually drive into this nice park.

Address for Charles D Owen Park: 875 Warren Wilson Rd, Swannanoa, NC

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From the parking area, this is where we started our walk. Between these pillars is a walkway between the two lakes.

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Lower lake view

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Upper lake view

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If you just stay in Charles D Owen Park and walk the perimeter of the park, it’s a .83 mile walk

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Heron at the upper lake

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Fishing pier on the upper lake

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These next 2 photos are a couple of river views taken at the park

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This section of the River Trail East is a little grown up

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River / trail view

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Captured this butterfly on our walk. Don’t think I’ve seen one this color before.

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You then come upon this meadow

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On our way back, found these stuffed into a tree trunk

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We’re back at Charles D Owen Park. A duck hiding beside of the lake.

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And then one more heron photo

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Eli is a little leary of eating the blackberry that I just picked for him

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Sawyer showing off while petting Orka

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Looks like Orka wants to lead the boys on a walk

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And then lastly, a family of turkeys passing through

Whitetop, VA – Virginia Creeper Trail (Whitetop Station)

For other posts from different sections of the creeper trail, search internet by “ranger annette virginia creeper trail” and see what pops up.

We’re almost done with our 2nd round of walking the entire Virginia Creeper Trail. Today we drove up to Whitetop and started walking back towards Green Cove Station. We walked in and stopped at the point where we had stopped when we walked from Green Cove Station towards Whitetop the last time we were on the creeper trail. The mid-way point is at a trail that goes up the hill and it has a sign that indicates no ATV’s are allowed on the trail. I’ve always wondered where that trail goes, but have never tried taking a walk on it.

This section of the trail, you park right above the little Whitetop visitors center. This is where the vans let the bicyclists out so they can head back down to Damascus. We hit the trail and passed a nice covered picnic area. We then went in and checked out the little visitors center. The visitors center has a little gift stop and restroom. It also has maps / brochures of other trails in the area.

We then headed on towards Green Cove Station. Not alot on this section of the trail. Woods on both sides of you. No river on this section. There were a few rhododendrons still blooming today. That was about it. But, it’s all about the walking / getting out and staying fit.

Here are a few photos from today.

Address for Whitetop Station: 1595 Whitetop Gap Rd, Whitetop, VA

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The sign at the parking area above Whitetop Station

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A bloom beside the trail

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A sign for the bikers to remember to call out to walkers. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t.

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The little picnic area and Whitetop Station ahead

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This amused me. The placement of this sign could make people wonder. Is that the visitors center?

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This section of the creeper trail runs across private property. Make sure you stay on the trail.

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You’ll have a view on your right of Whitetop mountain

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These next 2 photos are of rhododendron blooms that we ran across

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A Christmas tree farm through the trees

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Trestle 46. The only trestle that we experienced today.

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This was our turn-around point

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Another old house along the trail

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And this is just a photo that I took at home this past week. A spider spun it’s web between a couple of our trees.

 

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