Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wiseman's View

My last stop of the day was Wiseman's View. It's a National Forest site along the Kistler Highway. It does indeed offer pretty much the finest easily accessible views in the entire gorge. I've been to finer grandstands in the wilderness, but you have to hike to those over rough trails. This one can be had via a drive to a parking area and then a short stroll to the edge of the canyon.

The Forest Service has provided some infrastructure here. There's a vault toilet, plenty of parking, an asphalt trail leading to the overlook that's even suitable for wheelchairs, benches, two rock and concrete viewpoints, rock walls, and even some grassy meadow suitable for picnicking.

As I enjoyed the spot I had the place utterly and completely to myself. There wasn't a single other human there on that cold, windy day. Initially the views were unimpeded by clouds or precipitation, but that changed as the snowstorm that had dogged me all that afternoon came zipping down the gorge and soon it was snowing again.

Finally, after taking a number of great shots of the gorge at Wiseman's View, I headed out with the wind whipping and the snow falling. Driving down from the ridgetop and into the lowlands, I left the place with the ground turning white beneath the snow.

I never tire of seeing the view from this overlook. (Click to embiggen.)

One of the pair of carefully constructed overlooks at the edge of the precipice.

The impressive peak known as Table Rock.

Telephoto shot of the Linville River 2,000 feet below.

The snow catches up to Wiseman's View.

The snowstorm came riding down the gorge.

I stopped at one last spot to look back at the mouth of the gorge, with Shortoff Mountain's looming cliffs soaring over the river.

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