|Grayson Highlands State Park overview|
August 1, 2011 We arrived at Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia after a 30 mile, 1 hour trip from Piney Creek, NC. That may be a slight exaggeration but you can easily plan to double or triple your travel time on the curvy mountain roads. A lovely overview greeted us as we entered the park. With temperatures in the low 60’s in the evening, Alan built a fire and we had our first roasted marshmallows of the trip.
|Monday night Smyth County Jam|
|Alan at the beginning of the Virginia Creeper Trail|
As we moved north, we discovered the multitude of caverns located throughout Virginia. We opted for a visit to the Grand Caverns Park in Grottoes, VA. Originally discovered in 1804, it is the oldest show cave in America. As a regionally owned park it has avoided the Disney-like commercialization of many of the other caverns. We lucked into a private tour, so we were able to take a little extra time as I snapped dozens of pictures.
|Overview from Skyline Drive in Shenandoah|
Alan exited the program briefly to photograph a stunning sunset. The layers of clouds and mountains and the bright orange and purple sky created some striking photos. Leaving the show, a few deer were scavenging in the trees near our car. I took some pictures, but because of their movement and the low light, they were blurred, I fumbled with the camera to omit the deer. Yikes, a major screw-up. I deleted all the pictures taken that day. The striking and eerie caverns, the lovely overlooks as we entered Shenandoah, the spirited String Band, and the incredible sunset, all were erased with a push of the wrong button.
|Black Bear spotted in Shenandoah|
Departing the next afternoon, we moved to Shenandoah River State Park. Planning on fishing and kayaking, we arrived to find a temperature of 104 and low water running over the rocks in the river. It didn’t take us long to decide this was not what we had in mind and it was time to move on.