Getting High the Natural Way

There’s a natural way to get high that not enough people experience.

When’s the last time you went to a national park “just because”? Or stopped to smell a flower, sit quietly by a babbling brook, or simply look at the sky?

Heady stuff, really.

Even though my recent Appalachian ramble was mostly about riding, I appreciate natural stuff, too. And, heck, the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) is a national park of sorts. As explained on the BRP’s FAQ page…

Is the Blue Ridge Parkway a national park? The National Park Service administers a variety of kinds of areas. Some of these are “parks”, some are called “seashores”, some are called “monuments” or “historic sites”, and some are called “parkways.” We wear the same uniform and operate under basically the same rules as Yellowstone, Gettysburg, or Cape Hatteras. Our agency web site at will give you the entire list!

Yes, the road is a good one, but there’s lots of natural beauty to enjoy, too. Like Linville Falls at Milepost 316.


I wasn’t exactly dressed for a hike, but the walk from the parking lot was relatively short, and well worth the sweat it induced.

It sure was green.


Lower part of the waterfall.


Different angle.


Middle section of the falls.


Upper, twin cascades. (I made up all of these names.)

There were actually quite a few people around, I just framed my shots carefully to exclude the strangers.

I found THE spot!

And, look at this, you can literally and legally get high, too. For free.

Couldn’t resist stopping here.

This is the place that was inundated with weevils. You actually get to drive most of the way to the summit. From the parking lot a short, but steep, walk gets you to the high point.

View from Mount Mitchell


View from Mount Mitchell


The road leading back to the BRP.


Micro Ferns (I made that name up, too.)


Interesting Plant


Lichen on a branch.

The plant pics were all taken between the parking lot and the mountain’s actual summit. It was a great way to stop and catch my breath without looking like a total wuss that couldn’t make that short, steep trek without getting winded.

After enjoying the view and having to ask some stranger to brush all the bugs off of my back, I hopped on the bike and headed back to the BRP. A bit later, I stopped at one of the visitors’ centers/exhibit halls to stretch and use the facilities. That’s where I saw this beautiful, huge rhododendron.










Yes, that’s a lot of pictures of the same flower, but I thought it was pretty.

On the road again.

It really was a pretty day. I’ll close this post with another of my favorite bike shots.

High Overlook


There are times when the BRP, being in the mountains, is completely fogged in, making it impossible to enjoy the stunning views that seem to be around most corners.

The weather Gods were certainly smiling upon me that day.

4 Replies to “Getting High the Natural Way”

  1. Kathy, your photos are fabulous, especially the rhododendron. I can’t get enough of them either. Come to think of it, I didn’t get any closeups this year at all. So thanks for taking some for me. 😉

    Linville Falls and Mount Mitchell are among the top natural wonders of the BRP, thanks for reminding us how special they are!

    1. My pleasure. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I really liked seeing the rhododendrons. 🙂

      Mount Mitchell was nice, but would’ve been better without all of the bugs!

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