Since we are so near to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and since we have very fond memories of our 2007 journey on the Parkway, we decided to spend today revisiting the area around Peaks of Otter, and taking some time to stop and look at things we had overlooked before. One of our hopes was that by being here earlier in the season we would find more mountain flowers in bloom. On our previous trip, which took place in July, we noted an abundance of rhododendrons, but they were well past their bloom. Perhaps in late May we could find some that were still blooming.
We were to learn that our expectations would be met and exceeded. We entered near the point of lowest elevation on the entire Parkway. There we saw no blooms. But some bicyclists stopped near us for a break, so I struck up a conversation with Mary Lou from Florida. She said that in the higher elevations there were rhododendrons blooming. A few minutes later we spoke with one of her friends who showed us a multitude of photos she had taken at higher elevations.
Within a short time we had climbed 3,000 feet, and sure enough, we began to see blooms.
We made our way to the Peaks of Otter Lodge and spent the rest of the day exploring there. We took the shuttle to the top of Sharp Top Mountain, we had dinner in the lodge, and we took a walk around Abbot Lake.