Sunday, October 7, 2012

Blustery Day at Rough Ridge

All week long a trip was planned to hit the BRP at first light on Sunday morning, but, as is typical with the weather around here, it all changed in a matter of hours. So an audible was called Friday night and we hit the road Saturday morning instead. I picked up my compadres at 6:30 in Minneapolis NC and made it to the Rough Ridge parking lot just before sunrise ... excellent. The day's plan included pictures from Rough Ridge, the classic Linn Cove viaduct pose, and pictures of an arched footbridge we had seen on the interwebs that is on the trail at the overlook.

It was windy ... dang windy ... no, it was 'blow us off the mountain' windy.

We made it up the trail to the boardwalk just as the sun was peeking over the horizon. The wind was trying to blow us off the boardwalk, but we hung around with a few other hardy folk and snapped several brackets of the sunrise over the valley to the south and east.
Sunrise from the boardwalk at Rough Ridge
The wind kept blowing as the sunlight moved into the valleys to the west and lit up the Linn Cove viaduct. We had to keep a firm grip on the tripods and cameras just to keep them upright at times. After snapping several more brackets of the western slopes of Grandfather mountain, we ventured on up the trail to the top of Rough Ridge.

first light on Linn Cove Viaduct ... from Rough Ridge
The best thing about being at the top was that we could hunker down behind a huge rock face and get out of the wind ... mostly. The views of Linn Cove viaduct are great, as are the rocky slopes that make up the south face of Grandfather mountain; you can even see the mile high swinging bridge from the top. But the wind just never let up. We had to give up on getting pictures that had foliage real close; long distance pictures of the foliage across the valleys were the order of the day.

We thought the bridge we saw on the interwebs was the one we wanted to photograph at the Rough Ridge overlook .. it wasn't ... but there was a bridge that needed it's picture took, so we obliged. But the wind was wrecking that too. The color was really nice but the tree tops were moving around so much that a sharp picture just wasn't going to happen.

Footbridge at the Rough Ridge overlook
The next part of the plan was to get the classic picture of the Linn Cove viaduct, taken from atop the big rock at it's eastern end. We came off the trail and drove to the Linn Cove visitor center for a break. We saw a picture of the arch bridge we were looking for behind the counter. The nice lady there told us where to find it ... Boone Fork!

We drove back to the overlook at the eastern end of the viaduct, parked and walked back to the rock where all the classic pictures of the viaduct are taken. Here's my take on the classic. This place just begs for a long-exposure, with headlight / taillight streaks across the viaduct.

Classic pose of the Linn Cove Viaduct
Back to the truck and on to the Boone Fork overlook to look for the arch bridge the lady at the visitor center told us about. Traffic was really picking up on the parkway, and the overlooks were getting crowded, so we made a parking space and hit the trail. It was less than 1/4 mile on the trail to the bridge.. The wind was still blowing ... go figure ... but we worked the place over for about 30 minutes. The color was really nice but the wind made pictures with just a mess of yellow and orange; it would have been nice to have some sharper images, maybe next time.

Footbridge at Boone Fork overlook

This is an isolation of a neat little drop under the bridge ... Bob Ross would totally paint this little scene if he were still around.

the creek at Boone Fork

We headed home from Boone Fork before the weather went totally bad. Within the hour there was rain to go along with the gusty winds. Turns out the audible was a good call as Sunday was a total washout.

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