Dawn in the Blue Ridge Mountains

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The peaceful yet powerful Chattooga River cuts through the lush forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains near Cashiers, North Carolina.

Most people do not think of these mountains as part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I think for most people, the mountains of northern North Carolina and southern Virginia come to mind. Namely, the stretch of mountains which are home to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Even the locals of this area don't even refer to these mountains as the Blue Ridge. They refer to it as something else: the Highlands Plateau. While just as just as high as the rest of the range, it is flatter here, so it's more like a plateau. But nevertheless, it this area is indeed part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, although just barely: it's at the very southern tip, and eastern edge, of the range. This is a major reason why the plateau gets so much rainfall annually. It's the first major elevation change for moist air coming up from the south or in from the east. In fact, it's one of the only areas that qualifies as a temperate rain forest east of the Sierra Nevadas!

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