The Blue Ridge Parkway by Foot

A Park Ranger’s Memoir


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About the Book

One of the premier tourist attractions of the eastern United States, the Blue Ridge Parkway stretches from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in western North Carolina. This volume relates the author’s one-of-a-kind backpacking trip along the 469-mile road, along with his observations and recollections regarding the Parkway, the most visited unit of the National Park Service. Beginning with his experience as a summer college intern, the book also covers the twelve years he spent working as a ranger on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Anecdotal history and accounts from some of the Parkway’s earliest rangers complete this tale of one of our country’s national treasures. The appendix contains a chronological, mile-by-mile re-creation of Pegram’s 2003 trek, including the names of all the Parkway landmarks mentioned in the book.

About the Author(s)

Freelance writer Tim Pegram is a former park ranger and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Bibliographic Details

Tim Pegram
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 324
Bibliographic Info: 35 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3140-3
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8280-1
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Contributions to Southern Appalachian Studies

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      ix
Preface      1

1. Once Upon the Parkway      3
2. Door Number Three      5
3. Twelve Years, Eight Months, Forty-One Days      8
4. Deliberately, Reflectively, Randomly      19
5. Means of Engagement      25
6. Milepost Zero      35
7. One Manpower      43
8. Boston Knob Overlook      50
9. Spooked.      56
10. Ranger Bloopers      66
11. Taking Flight      78
12. Stills and Fields      84
13. Ranger Mischief      96
14. Beware of Dog      109
15. Gone Awry      117
16. Disorderly Conduct      122
17. Clocking Butterflies and Bumblebees      131
18. Not of This Earth      141
19. Weathering Isabel      155
20. Crossing Paths      166
21. Death of a Chorus      170
22. Finding, at Last, the Wild Asparagus      177
23. Pure Harmony      189
24. Derailed in Avery County      200
25. Motorcycles      211
26. Skulking About      218
27. Bear!      227
28. Sunday Solace      234
29. Balsam Gap District Revisited      241
30. Swinging Snow Gates      246
31. The Main Event      258
32. Local Comparable Rate      265
33. Cased and Unloaded      276
34. Milepost 469      284

Appendix: Noted Parkway Locations and Author’s Schedule      287
Chapter Notes      293
Bibliography      301
Index      305

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “full of vivid descriptions…provides inspiration”—The Mountaineer
  • “by soaking up Pegram’s highly descriptive prose…readers will feel as if they are sharing every memory and mile. More than a travelogue, this book offers insight into how the soul of a road intertwined with the soul of an author”—Our State
  • “this book is like taking a one-on-one nature hike with an experienced ranger…a treasure trove of information about the Blue Ridge Parkway…a pleasure to read…Pegram recounts the sights and smells of his journey with an accuracy and detail that betray his many years as a park ranger…a unique perspective…brings together the past and the present of the Blue Ridge Parkway”—Jefferson Post
  • “Tim Pegram traversed all 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway in 2003, and he didn’t settle for a woodsy hike…Pegram describes his journey, interlacing it with anecdotes from his 12 years as a ranger in the Blue Ridge Parkway”—Salisbury Post
  • “Tim Pegram does a great service to the less adventurous of us who can vicariously share in his colorful and entertaining journey”—The Roanoke Times.