02 Jun Bobcat – Blue Ridge Parkway Bicycle Ride Day 11
It was a few feet into the clear and coming down the embankment and moving toward the road. It was tawny and small. It was just a bit larger than a house cat and had a longer tail. It quickly sensed my approaching bike and darted back into the undergrowth. I had seen my first bobcat in the wild. I continued the long climb towed Mt Pisgah.
I had woken at 5:30 am and had quickly broken camp. I was riding at 6 am.. Since it wasn’t fully light I used my red blinker.
I crossed I-40 and soon crossed the French Broad River. Unlike Vinton, VA, I was surprised to find that I stayed in wooded hills the entire ride through Asheville. It would be hard to imagine that I was riding past a major city.
After the bridge over the French Broad the long climb to Mt Pisgah began. Since town had never seemed to present itself to the Parkway, I was already climbing before finding a water stop. I was already down to a single bottle of water when the climb started. It was hot and I didn’t know how far to water. I looked for steams and drips constantly. I worried a good deal. There were not many people around to borrow water from. I kind of rationed my supply as I sweated buckets om this hot and hazy morning. he wind did not stir. Finally I saw a small amount of water running down the street culvert. I followed it up in search of the fresh source. At last I ended up dipping it out of a puddle on the side of the road. It was clear though it had many tiny bugs swimming around. I added more than the usual dose of chlorine drops and pedaled on much relieved.
I took a long break at the Pisgah Inn for cleaning and breakfast. I saw the group from New Hampshire again. Yesterday, one had ridden from Blowing Rock to Mt Pisgah Inn. That is some serious punishment over 117 miles of a tough section. I think he also took in Mt Mitchell’s 1300 ft climb so add another 11 miles making it 128.
The rest of the day I either labored up or glided down the Parkways highest peaks. Looking Glass mountain stood out much of the way. It is a granite dome with trees on top.
After several climbs and descents , I made my way to an overlook of 6020 feet, breaking the 6000 foot milestone. A short while later I was at Richard Balsam Overlook at 6053 feet, the highest point on the Parkway. Photo taking was switched off between myself and a guy (ehhh) who had ridden his motorcycle from his home in British Columbia.
There were many tunnels to ride through. They made me nervous; however light traffic relieved much of my worry. Descending through the last tunnel of the day, a car entered from the other side with headlights off. I couldn’t see him at all, but I heard his honk. I couldn’t tell whether he was in front or behind. I moved toward the wall and strained my eyes in an attempt to perceive the automobile’s location. Just then, headlights flashed on in the approaching lane. I waved my fist as he sped by.
A little farther down I ran into a Boy Scout troop from Lilburn, GA assembled at an Overlook with support vehicles. They were wrapping up the first day of a multi-day Blue Ridge Parkway ride. Very nice. They offered me water. Since I needed to camp soon I had both my 2 liter and water bottles filled.
Tonight I am camping at 4200 feet next to a nice stream. Hopefully this will make a cooler night.