I left from Massachusetts on June 18th, headed down to North Carolina first and to help clear my head and re-balance myself from a rough year. I had thought for a month, prior to leaving that I would start a new portfolio of American landscapes, though I had no fucking clue what I really wanted to shoot. For years after graduating I had been floating through a plethora of ideas with basic starting points, but always losing focus and enthusiasm very quickly.
The idea was born while hiking the "Pinnacle" a short and moderately aggressive trail in the Mount Mitchell State Park section off the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. When the group came to the base of the mountain post-decent, a member paused and told that we were standing on an old abandoned switchback.
Before I get all wacky about my love for these new roads, like a fan obsessing over the latest pop sensation, I'll give a brief background of what a switchback is.
Hairpin turns are often built when a route climbs up or down a steep slope, so that it can travel mostly across the slope with only moderate steepness, and are often arrayed in a zigzag pattern. Highways with repeating hairpin turns allow easier, safer ascents and descents of mountainous terrain than a direct, steep climb and descent, at the price of greater distances of travel and usually lower speed limits, due to the sharpness of the turn. Highways of this style are also generally less costly to build and maintain than highways with tunnels.