The Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs over 450 miles through Virginia and North Carolina, is home to a seemingly endless array of scenic overlooks. People travel from all over the county to take in the beauty and hike the many trails along the route. It's also a very popular spot for nature photographers during every season of the year. Having been a lifelong resident of North Carolina, I have been privileged to visit the Parkway more times than I can count however, I've rarely been able to catch a sunrise there. Last fall, I made a special early morning trip there to watch the sunrise from the very popular Rough Ridge Overlook near the Linn Cove Viaduct and Grandfather Mountain.
It was definitely worth the effort and the super early alarm clock. I arrived at the parking area around an hour and a half before sunrise and made the 1/2 mile or so climb to the spot I had identified on a previous trip. The cold winds sweeping up the side of the mountain that morning were furious and my position left me fully exposed to the elements. It was a bit eerie sitting there in the dark and listening to the winds howl and I have to admit that I questioned my sanity more than once.
Eventually, I started to see pre-dawn on the horizon and I quickly forgot about the cold and the wind. All of the effort was rewarded when the sun finally crested the low lying clouds and bathed the whole scene in its warm glow. It was definitely a moment to remember! Shortly after taking this photograph, I had the added surprise and pleasure of witnessing a young man and woman getting engaged from that lovely spot. What a wonderful morning!
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor