In our travels through the Appalachian Mountains, we have found some incredible places, many times just by accident. My husband always says that if he can drive in Miami, he can drive anywhere regardless of the terrain. After a few mishaps, we quickly learned to carry a stocked cooler, flashlights, dry clothes, spare shoes and multiple cell phones every time we venture off to discover new towns, roads and scenic wonders.
In search of snow, one winter we stumbled upon what appeared to be a dead end by our standards anyway, but as we grew closer to the end of the paved road, we discovered a sign that read something like "gravel road begins here" and so my husband without hesitation continued on. As we drove, the elevation increased and we found ourselves under the snow covered trees. It was dark, very cold and void of color. To some it may have appeared dreary, solitary and perhaps even frightening, yet what our eyes gazed upon that afternoon filled us with such wonder. While others on vacation complained that it was a disappointing winter in the "snowless" mountains, we enjoyed knowing that for a brief moment our thirsty eyes had feasted and our our warm hands had touched the precious gold. Eventually, we turned around and headed back down the mountain to "civilization" quite pleased with ourselves and claiming victory!
On one of these expeditions which began with little planning or focused destination, we found the Cherohala Skyway. No words or pictures capture the true beauty of this magical 50 mile drive that connects a portion of eastern Tennessee to western North Carolina.. The views are spectacular, not only because the skyway sits at a great altitude, at one point about 5400 feet, but because there is very little obstruction and traffic.
With clouds at our feet, we felt completely alone and in some way that infinite space belonged to no one else but the four of us.
Visit the Cherohala photo gallery
Learn the History of the Cherohala Skyway
More area photographs by Tarheel Ramblings