Tuesday, June 26, 2012

VA Camping Trip

Last week I camped for four nights in the Jefferson National Forest in Virginia a bit south of Wytheville. It's an annual camping trip that my friend Daryl in Cincinnati does every year, and this was the sixth one that I've done with him. This year it was him and his wife Sheila, their grandson Wyatt, their dogs Lexie and T.T., and me. We arrived on Saturday afternoon and stayed through Wednesday morning and had a great time! The weather was perfect this year; no rain, daytime highs were in the low 80's, and overnight lows were around 60.

One of the most enjoyable parts of camping is cooking outdoors, and we cooked up some good vittles this year! We had breakfasts made up of scrambled eggs, bacon, goetta, sausage patties, sausage gravy, pan fried potatoes, toast, and English muffins. Dinners were brats on buns with some really good homemade sauerkraut and baked beans; steak, baked potatoes, and corn on the cob; and beef and gravy over egg noodles. Yum!

Chef Daryl at work!

That's some crazy good sausage gravy made by Daryl on the toast.

A couple of photos I took in nearby Elk Creek.

On Monday we walked the trail to the top of Comers Rock for an incredible view.

On Tuesday we visited nearby Hale Lake, a good place for trout fishing.

On Wednesday I took the long way home, including about 100 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Along the way I visited three waterfalls, the first one being Cascade Falls, accessible via a parking area around milepost 272. I bumped into a nice couple and their granddaughter from New Orleans and had an enjoyable visit with them.

I next visited Linville Falls, accessible via a parking area around milepost 316. It is actually comprised of three separate waterfalls; there are first two smaller falls side-by-side, and then a bit downstream is the big one. A one-mile trail that starts easy and becomes moderately difficult offers first a good view of the twin falls and then 2 views of the main waterfall and the gorge.

If you look closely between the falls in the above photo, you'll spot this heron.

Those two falls empty into a pool that then shoots down a chasm to create the big waterfall. Below is a photo of the chasm; study the big rock on the right and see if you see the face.

And here is the main waterfall.

Also accessible from the Linville Falls parking area down a different trail is a small waterfall named Duggers Creek Falls. It's a tiny one, but the trail to it is very short, so since you're there, it's worth visiting.

And, a couple more shots of flora in the area.

Also along the way, I visited 19 new post offices, bringing the total in my collection to 694.

It was a great trip, summed up nicely by this quote by Edwin Way Teale that I read along the way: "Our minds, as well as our bodies, have need of the out-of-doors. Our spirits, too, need simple things, elemental things, the sun and the wind and the rain, moonlight and starlight, sunrise and mist and mossy forest trails, the perfumes of dawn and the smell of free-turned earth and the ancient music of wind among the trees."


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