With full tummies we fell into a deep sleep in our over sized bed at the Best Western Ashville and I dreamt of red velvet cakes and fried green tomatoes. We will be heading further up North through North Carolina and Virginia towards Maryland soon and I am already feeling nostalgic for the South.
The blue ridge parkway is a scenic stretch of road that runs from North Carolina (Smokey Mountains) to the Shenandoah National Park and is by all accounts has the most beautiful views of the area. We met the road somewhere outside of Ashville and headed up the road as far as an area called Otters Peak. The entire road was lined with forest either side and beautiful green hills in the distance. Brooks lined our drive and as we drove we soaked in the scenery. It is so lovely to be surrounded by so much green... reminded me of England in someway, only as with most things American it was bigger and better.
After a long drive we decided to camp for the night in Otters Peak and stumbled onto a great find in the middle of a forest. This was a campsite that was like no other campsite we had seen or stayed in. A larger forest area with small campsites placed far apart throughout the area with stone fireplaces, a picnic table and a small plot to pitch a tent it left the surrounding area untouched and so we almost felt like we had simply pitched our tent in the middle of a deserted forest. As we ate our dinner of hummus, bagels and salads a doe walked around our campsite surveying her new neighbours for the night, nodded her head in approval and then moved on. Fireflies dances around our tent and the forest was a live with sounds of birds and wildlife bustling around us. We read a pamphlet I had picked up on route about what to do if a Black Bear approaches and retreated to our our tent for an early night. This was the first night we felt the cold and so our tent provided shelter and warmth that our t-shirt just could not match.
We awoke in the morning to to see two long legged spiders, lit red by our tent, entwined on the front window of our tent obviously also seeking some warmth from the cold night. Although I am scared of spiders it was a comforting sight to awake to and we began our preparations for the rest of the day.
At the visitors centre we were told about a beautiful walk by a waterfall where we could go and so we headed of for a walk in the woods. Beautiful it was, although it was somewhat harder than we had thought it to be, but as we were getting tired we saw the doe (we like to think, our doe) walking through the forage in the direction we were heading and we got our second wind and headed on back to the car.
Back at the car we typed in our next destination into the GPS (g-d bless GPS) and headed to Potomac, Maryland where we would be spending the weekend with my family and seeing Washington DC. We said a fond farewell to our tent and hello to civilization. The camping part of our trip was over and as happy I was to be heading into civilization I looked back with a little sadness to be leaving the shelter of the forests. Sadly we never did see our Black Bear.