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So after seeing the big dog with horns, we continued north on the parkway to the Craggy Gardens area. Normally, we never venture to this area in June because the Catawba Rhododendron are in full bloom and the area is packed with tourists. But, as luck would have it, the road bed underneath the Parkway weakened and part of the road is closed. Since there is no easy detour, many people are not venturing to this section. A loss for tourism, but great for us.
We made it to the crowded Craggy Picnic area, but hiked up toward the Craggy Flats (picture a large meadow on top of a mountain). Here is the view over the blooming Rhododendron from Craggy Flats with Craggy Pinnacle in the background.
And a close up of the Rhododendron blooms:
After Craggy Flats, we hiked over to the Craggy Visitors Center, which is closed for the season because of the road closure. From there, we realized that the tunnel was open up to Craggy Pinnacle. It was originally closed last winter for repairs and fixed just as the Park Service realized the road bed problem in a different area. So we hiked up to Craggy Pinnacle. From the top of Craggy Pinnacle, here is a view back toward Craggy Flats. You can see a roof from a shelter and to the left of that is the Flats. You can also see the closed Visitors Center and Parkway. The picnic area where we started is off to the right of the picture.
So, did we have fun? Ask Kiska.
All in all, the hike from the Craggy Picnic area, through the Flats, to the top of Craggy Pinnacle, and back – around 6 miles. That on top of 2 miles earlier in the day at Frying Pan, and we put on our miles. Not a peep from the pups driving home and they were ravenous for dinner!
Tomorrow, I will tell you all about Wolf Rock. Stay tuned.
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