Thursday, May 13, 2010

BLUE RIDGE AT OTTER CREEK

After a peaceful night at a Moose Club in Vinton, a small town near Roanoke, VA. we got back on the parkway. A morning haze covered  the peaceful mountain, heavy with leafy trees.

As we rose in elevation the trees changed to more stunted growth; trees are yet to gain full leaf, here. The forecast was for rain, but the day was mostly overcast as we drove along.

Many vistas. So far in the Blue Ridge we have seen deer, turkeys aplenty, squirrels, many birds and butterflies which seem to drift in front of the motor home. Two turtles in the road where we hoped other motorists would miss them as we did. This area backs up to Jefferson National Forest with treed hillsides as far as the eye can see.


Here, we see the first wild rhododendrons in bloom, not that my through-the-window pictures do them justice. Rocks vary the landscape.

Another beautiful stone bridge, of many.


The park design was deliberately zig-zagged to take advantage of the view, always the views were the foremost consideration. As below, the James River.

At Otter Lake we realized we were at the lowest elevation on the parkway at 649 feet. We stopped to have a bit of lunch and play. Rock climbing and photographing the little plants and flowers about the creek. Noticing a beaver chewed tree.




At Otter Creek Camp Ground, which was unexpectedly open, we found a drivethrough spot right along the burbling Otter Creek.


We explored, walked, read a bit. No sooner finished, Jim brought in the chairs and boom. The thunder commenced and a heavy downpour enveloped us as we sat safe inside with our dinner cooking on the stove. (Glad we were not in a tent.)
Finally the rain ceased. Neighbors Frank and Diane Wilson came by to chat. They were driving in the downpour and got caught about a quarter mile before the campground by a downed tree. A new ranger, without a chainsaw had just come from a class on learning to use a chainsaw. We had a laugh over that. The tree was cut with a handsaw, with the help of travelers, and all turned out well.

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