Thunder Ridge

The Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) is a 469 mile drive that connects the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, and I’ve ridden every one of those miles on the bike.  In fact, I took my first solo ride on the BRP, celebrating my 50th Birthday, 4 years, and 2 cameras, ago. You can read about that ride here and here if you’d like.

Even though I’ve ridden on the BRP many times, I still see something new with each visit.


 Yesterday’s 230 mile ride, part of which was on the BRP, included a stop at Thunder Ridge, at Milepost 75.



A very short hike reveals a view of the Allegheny Mountains and Arnold’s Valley, elevation 3485 ft.


The view made me think of a blanket made of mountains.


We stood there admiring this incredible view, feeling the sun on our faces while the wind blew with gusto, and then took the trail back to the bikes.


What an incredible gift it is to live right near the Blue Ridge Parkway.

“Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2010, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a product of the New Deal’s efforts to provide jobs to the unemployed of the Great Depression. Construction began in September 1935 at Cumberland Knob near the North Carolina and Virginia state line.

The idea was to create a link between the Shenandoah National Park to the edge of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Completed in 1983, the Parkway’s history has been highlighted by documentarian Ken Burns in the six-part “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” series originally aired on PBS”.

57 thoughts on “Thunder Ridge

  1. What an incredible view and each photo is just yummy! Beautiful country you are in right now. I just love those rolling green hills aka mountains. I’ve been to the Great Smoky Mountains in NC and I know how gorgeous they are. Great images. Thank you. Love, Amy

  2. So many gorgeous shots here LB! I was thinking the first one looked like a painting and then I loved your expression ‘a blanket made of mountains’. It so reminded me of being young and constructing an imaginary land of mountains and valleys out of my green quilt.- I swear they looked just like your photos 🙂 And of course the path between the trees – magical!

    • I love that you imagined a land of mountains and valleys. So creative!
      I’m just glad that people understood my blanket made of mountains 🙂

  3. What a wonderful ride! The Shenandoah is my absolute favorite national park. I’m not as familiar with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but I want to explore it someday.

    • Hi Sheryl! I was replying to other comments when yours came through. I do hope you get to the Smokies … I rode there for the first time last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. Gorgeous!

  4. Exquisite photos, Laurie. I love that you took this ride for your 50th and also that you check in back home to let your family know you’re okay. That’s such a thoughtful and caring thing to do.

    I’m continuously drawn to the paths that disappear just out of view. I love the idea of wandering in the forest alone (but only if I knew I could safely get back). Lots to contemplate. Thanks for that.

    • Thanks so much for going back and checking out the post about my first solo ride, Alys. That means alot! The communication with family and friends was definitely the motivation to start the blog, and I’m so glad I did as there’ve been so many unexpected and lovely surprises!

      • I envy you your family, both close and extended. I think its wonderful you started blogging as a way to connect.

        I always enjoy your stories and stunning pictures along with your perspectives on life.

  5. I envy you’re life on the bike… years ago i had a bad accident with my bike ( Honda VFR 750)…after 10 month of revalidation i could walk again…but riding a bike belongs definitely to the past… Enjoy you’re rides ! Greetings Geert

  6. I’ve done Skyline Drive several times, but never the Blue Ridge Parkway. You’ve enticed me, I’ll have to do it now. Thunder Ridge looks awesome, as do the Smokies. I love the Shenandoah Valley. A buddy and I have been thinking of doing some hiking down that way. Thanks for sharing, LB.

    • Somehow I missed this comment, Jim! Be sure to let me know if you get to the BRP / Shenandoah Valley. I’d love to meet up! How fun would that be? (well, I think it’d be fun 🙂 )

  7. You know what I love, is when you’re way up high and look down, on a sunny day you can watch the shadows of the clouds moving across the landscape and see the colours of the earth change every shade of green you can imagine. Makes you feel very small when you gaze across the vastness of that land, you can see so far. It’s kind of cool to find stone stairs in the middle of the forest too. When we’re all gone and someone lands on Earth, they’ll know we were once here and loved the beauty of nature because the stairs lead to a view. I love that shot. I can imagine myself there, going up the stairs and disappearing around that log just like the path does in your photo. xoxoK

    • Somehow I missed this comment! I tried to catch the shadows on the mountains because like you, they captivate me. The images just didn’t turn out right (or perhaps I was too picky).
      You leave such great comments – love your thoughts on those stairs

Because Boomdee dared me: Lay a little sugar on me :-)

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