Friday, July 15, 2016

NatGeo's "Blue Ridge Range: The Gentle Mountains"

At the National Park Service visitor’s center at Linville Gorge, NC, I picked up a glossy “National Geographic Park Profiles” book ($15) “Blue Ridge Range: The Gentle Mountains”, by Ron Fisher with photography by Richard Alexander Cooke III (200 pages, indexed, 5 chapters).

The value of the book for its professional photographs, of unusual attractions from Georgia up to Harpers Ferry, is obvious. 

The highest peaks of the Blue Ridge tend to occur in the southern part, from SW Virginia through much of North Carolina.  Grandfather Mountain (at 5960) is the highest “front peak” (it’s debatable whether Mount Mitchell is really in the Blue Ridge  The higher peaks region is announced by a “Blue Ridge Plateau” above the Piedmont, an escarpment that includes areas like the famous Brown Mountain in NC with its lights (which are probably the result of the chemistry of quartz and certain other minerals in the presence of leaves and water).  In North Carolina, the Blue Ridge offers some unusual rock spires and formations (like Table Rock).  The winter climate in the higher peaks region is sometimes harsh, with stiff winds and deep snows in wind-exposed areas over 3500 feet (although not as harsh as Mount Washington in NH).

The Eastern Continental Divide runs through some of the Blue Ridge around Blowing Rock NC, before jutting west, finally to run along Allegheny Mountain in SW Virginia.

(Major book reviews are now posted on Wordpress, as explained previously). 

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