Joe and Nancy

Joe and Nancy
Our Home on Wheels (Click on image above for our web albums.)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Great Smoky Mountains NP #5

I ended my last blog by saying it was #3, when in fact it was #4, as this is #5.  It was a day trip over the Balsam Ridge, via the Blue Ridge Parkway.  From the NP website:  The Balsam Mountain area is an excellent high elevation escape offering spectacular mountain views and loads of summer wildflowers. To reach the Balsam Mountain area you must leave Great Smoky Mountains National Park briefly and drive the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. The parkway begins midway between Oconaluftee Visitor Center and Cherokee, NC. Exit the parkway near milepost 458 at the turnoff to Balsam Mountain Campground. You will follow the mile-high Heintooga Ridge Road for eight miles to Balsam Mountain Campground (elevation 5,310').
 We didn't want to leave this spot.
 Way down there in the valley is the Cherokee Harah's Casino.  Our RV is parked about one mile from there.  It was called Happy Holiday RV Village.  Very nice place, fairly large spaces and real friendly folks. I recomend it next time your in that neck of the woods.
 Balsam Ridge Campground right on top of the mountain, 5000 feet up.
 So much to take in and so little time to do it.  I need to slow down some.
 My trailblazer out front, protecting from the snakes & bears and whales.  Well, we didn't see any, so she did good!
 To take a road less traveled, drive to Balsam Mountain via the Heintooga Ridge Road that starts at the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 458.2, just 11 miles from the south end of the Parkway. Most of these later pics were taken from the Heintooga Road which descends down from the Balsam Ridge into Cherokee, some 26 miles on gravel and through large hardwood and Balsam forests.
 We ran into this big boy and three of his cows at the Masonic Shrine on Balsam Ridge.
 Wow, what panorama. It was jusr so inspiring, yet peaceful.. This retired life is the cat's meow.
 What a rack on this old boy.
 There were about ten of these humongous picnic tables at the NPS park at the start of the Heintooga Road.
Well, that's about it for this daytrip and blog.  So, till next time, Joe & Nancy, the RVing Beach Bums.