Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Pretty Ugly

Posted April 12, 2010

It was both a pretty and ugly weekend in the mountains. The weather was superb. It got just chilly enough to warrant a fire in the woodstove at night. Our hike along the New River was bathed in the golden glow of late afternoon. Attached is a picture of an old barn along the river. 

The ugly part came along the Blue Ridge Parkway which is still littered with debris from a devastating ice storm over the winter. The road is clear for the most part but thousands and thousands of limbs clog the grassy areas that border the pavement. Once you get off the parkway many of the trails are still impassable because of tree damage. It’s the worst I’ve ever seen in the mountains. It’s really sad to see the Parkway in such bad shape on the 75th anniversary year. Parkway officials say they are working as fast as they can to clean things up. Budget restraints and manpower are two of the problems. I would love to see a massive volunteer work force hit the roadsides and trails one week. I think we could really make a difference and let the government know just how important the Blue Ridge Parkway is to North Carolina and the nation. 

How much does the Blue Ridge Parkway mean to you? Would you be willing to volunteer your time to clean things up? 

By the way, a big congratulations to mdoodle for her witty poem on pollen! She wins two tickets to the Bill Leslie & Lorica concert Saturday in Cary. Our band is doing a joint performance with the Concert Singers of Cary at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church this coming Saturday at 7:30PM. It promises to be a great show. I’ve set up a link. We will give another pair of tickets to the person who best expresses their appreciation of the Blue Ridge Parkway.


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  • GoldenLover Apr 13, 2010

    For me the parkway is not a road. It's a destination. Just the smell of Mountain Laurel is invigorating. I love it best in the fall, at the peak of the color. It's especially beautiful when the clouds shroud the mountains and its a little misty. Looking down on the clouds from atop Table Rock Mountain was always a special treat. I could sit on the observation tower at Mt. Mitchell for hours. I have a friend who lives just feet off the parkway in the middle of a Christmas tree farm. We would sit on their front porch in the evening and watch the sun set over the mountains and listen to the distant sound of "Tweetsie" blowing it's whistle. How relaxing that was.

  • estrauch Apr 13, 2010

    FYI....Tweetsie Railroad opens the weekend of the 23rd. And yes...the Mast General Store in downtown Boone and in historic Valle Crucis is definitely worth checking out!

  • genegeneandnancy Apr 12, 2010

    We are so blessed to live in such a magnificient state where we are surrounded by the ocean/beach and the beauty of the rolling hills that lead into the mountains. Anyone that has ever visited a Mast General Store will be overcome with a sense of nostalgia from the old timers that play checkers with bottle caps by a pipe stove, barrel after barrel of "penny" candy, and toys of the past from Slinkys to marbles, to everything in between. It's well worth the drive just to visit a Mast General Store or ride Tweetsie Railroad. Whoo Whoo!!

  • bleslie Apr 12, 2010

    Zelda - your memory is impeccable. The year was 1989. The month was September. The storm was Hugo.

  • Zelda Apr 12, 2010

    Was it Hurricane Hugo that hit the mountains and the Blue Ridge hard 20 years or so ago? All the debris that fell became a fire hazard. We have a tiny place in Ashe County.

  • not home yet Apr 12, 2010

    If you hate the mountains so much just don't go. You are missing out on one of God's great creations.

  • pantherparty Apr 12, 2010

    you suck!! what about having a black posting!! I hate the mountains

  • tpatnode Apr 12, 2010

    The parkway is open from the Hwy 80 access point to Mt. Mitchell. I was there on Friday. It was 32 deg around 1:30 PM on the top, and windy. Also ice in a lot of the remaining trees from frozen rain or mist. The amount of destruction caused by the ice storm is a shame. It's worse around the Blowing Rock area. The ice storm occurred on Christmas day, that's 3 1/2 months ago and there is still a huge mess.

  • fgump Apr 12, 2010

    I have the week of July 4th off, and plan to volunteer as much time as possible helping clean up the BRP during that time.

  • 2thebeach Apr 12, 2010

    My uncle used to tell us about working for the WPA building the Parkway and how that initiative saved many families up that way. It's a pretty ride no matter when you go.




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