Spring Break day 1 - Smoky Mountains in Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park - VA Travel Blog

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Mist and clouds everywhere gave a smoky effect

OK, apart from the regular national holidays I had not had a single day off since Christmas. I felt it was time for a break. Kellie, one of my colleagues, had been to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina / Tennessee. After seeing her pictures, some time ago, I intended to go there one day. That day was close now!

With airlines asking more and more money and giving less and less service and a lease car with a lot of miles to be driven I decided to make it a road trip. Not completely via the interstates but via a very special road: The Blue Ridge Parkway, see next blog for more details. This 755-km (469-mile) long parkway connects Shenandoah National Park in the state of Virginia with Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the state of North Carolina.

Mist and clouds everywhere gave a smoky effect
The Blue Ridge Parkway starts where Shenandoah's Skyline Drive stops, at the very south end of the park. I had visited Shenandoah twice, see here and here.

The start of the vacation was not picture perfect. After the lovely weather we had yesterday today turned out to be a meteorological disaster. HEAVY rain poured down when I loaded my suitcase into the Mazda and kept pouring down the remaining 590 kilometers (364 miles) of my first travel leg. Not ideal!

BUT, exactly at that place, the top of the last section of Shenandoah, it stopped raining and the sun came even out. Great planning! A kind ranger advised me a small (5.2-km (3.2-mile) hike to High Top Mountain, a 280-m (919-ft) climb. The hike by itself was not very special, but the views from near the top were stunning. Especially with al the clouds and mist caused by the recent heavy rainfall gave a very special smoke like effect. I had, so to speak, my Great Smoky Mountains in Shenandoah National Park!

More pictures AND a movie below!

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Shenandoah National Park - VA
photo by: mdalamers