I had plans to go to Black Balsam. It was so packed they were parking on the parkway and walking up. So my great idea was to drive 100 miles north on the parkway and go to Linville gorge. Turned out to be a wonderful idea. It was beautiful up there! Crank the music up, open the sunroof, and become one with the road. Certain areas were definitely beginning to show color, unfortunately, some of the best colors were in the watershed area and you are not allowed to stop. The sun bleached out a lot of the color but every now and then a cloud would pass and all of the leaves would release all of the energy from the sun and just glow! When I got off the parkway, instead of waiting for camp food I stopped by mountain crossing for a burger, They also had a small bar where I could grab a beer while I waited for my burger after being on the road all day that beer hit the spot. Nice little setup they had there with very friendly people! Got to Linville there was one parking space left for me. I had thought about camping in the car so so no need to set up camp I headed up the mountain to take photos of the sunset. I walked past some amazing campsites it did not seem to be crowded up here at all. The cars must have been day hikers. So I changed my mind turned around went back to the car got a backpack and went back up. I started to set the tent up. where the heck is my tent poles? CRAP, CRAP, CRAP No tent camping. I carried the pack back down to the car and went on for the sunset. The sheer beauty of the place quickly took my mind off tent poles. Besides my car would prove to be a very warm, comfortable night’s sleep. The next day I took off on an epic hike along the Carolina wall. It has been quite a few years the last time I went on this particular trail, it involved a lot of bushwacking. The trail was hidden but when found, it seemed like it had used it recently. Turned out to be one of the best hikes I have had in quite a while. I almost took the interstate back but the allure of the parkway and the resplendent views won me over. So almost 100 miles back..

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