WNC mountains ride report
Well I rolled back in from my WNC moutains trip yesterday afternoon. After a hot meal, a shower and good nights sleep I'm feeling human again. I had to cut my trip a little short and didn't get out to Deal's Gap like I had hoped but I still had a blast.
Some of the best roads I hit were Hwy. 64 down the Cullasaja Gorge, Wayah Road, Blue Ridge Parkway from Cherokee to Hwy. 215, Heintooga Road, Hwy. 215 and Hwy. 276. I wanted to hit Hwy. 151 but the parkway was under construction on that section and I knew traffic would be heavy.
Wayah Road is one those roads that I have heard a lot about and wanted to see if it was just hype. It wasn't. I was there early in the morning around 9am and traffic was nonexistent. I made good time and had fun doing it. This road did not disappoint.
The section of the Blue Ridge Parkway from Cherokee to Hwy 215 was the only section in NC that I had not done so I wanted to be sure and ride it. It is by far the most scenic, least crowded, and twistiest section there is. I stopped to look more there in just a couple hours of riding than I did the entire rest of the trip. If you do any of the BRP be sure this is it.
Heintooga Road is an access road from the BRP to Balsam Mountain campground. The campground was nice and clean but the sites were very close together and there was absolutely no privacy at most sites. Heintooga Rd. was the biggest surprise of the trip. The second turn was a long, tight sweeper that I thought would never end. That is where the grin appeared and it didn't go away the rest of the 8 miles up to campground. It was tight, twisty and I did not pass another car on the way up. I saw three black bears, a mom and two cubs standing just off the side the road but they ran as soon as they saw me. I also saw an elk that had wandered up from Cataloochee which was just down the north side of the mountain. I ending up riding the road several times up and down just for kicks while I staying in the campground. If anyone gets a chance ride up to the end and walk down 100yds. to the lookout. You can see all the way to Mt. LeConte about 40 miles away and the view at sunset was amazing.
I learned a few things on my trip for next time. One thing being not to forgot my rain pants. If it had rained all weekend I would have been miserable. Luck was on my side and I got wet once on day 1. The second being that I need a pair of padded riding shorts for multi-day trips and the third being that if they take reservations at a national forest campground you probably don't want to stay there if you're looking for quiet rest.
Here are some cell phone pics. While they aren't the best quality you still get the idea.