Winter Walk

Graveyard Fields/Upper Falls Trail, Blue Ridge, NC

This is a level, non-rocky portion of the Graveyard Fields/Upper Falls trail at mile 419 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was a beautiful day, but I spent most of the walk headed directly into the westering sun, and the glare was ferocious. The rest of the trail is hilly and rocky, and I did quite a bit of tripping and slipping—once nearly dunking myself in a shallow stream.

Much as I enjoy just picking up and heading out, I think in future I’ll try to arrange to not do this kind of walk alone. It’s fairly easy to wrench an ankle or clonk your head, and on a less-travelled route that could be most unfortunate. The map for this trail wasn’t very good, and the signage and trail markings were among the worst I’ve seen for such a popular spot. If I do go on my own again, I’ll leave my name, intended route, and contact info in a note on my windshield.

Although it was not quite five miles, it was more strenuous than I expected. My thighs are a little stiff today. Once I had my back to the sun I was able to enjoy the scenery and the spectacularly clean mountain air. And the drive back on the Parkway in late afternoon light was magical.


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