Southwestern Virginia Blue and Orange

October 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

These photos were taken on bank of the South Fork of the Holston River in Alvarado in the late afternoon of October 19, 2014.

Ridiculously Blue Sky Contrasts with Fall Colors on the Bank of the South Fork of the Holston River, Alvarado, Virginia

The Riverbend with Holston Mountain in the Distance. Note the Blue and Orange Reflections in the river.

Park at Alvarado

The Park, maintained by the Town of Abingdon, is on the right.

Jackson River at Hidden Valley, Bath County, Virginia

October 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

The Jackson River is one of the most renowned trout streams in Virginia, flowing south until it merges with the Cowpasture River forming the beginning of the James. There are two generally known sections of the Jackson River—the lower Jackson, below the dam at Moomaw Lake in Alleghany County, and the upper Jackson, a free-flowing river in Bath County with headwaters reaching almost into Highland County.

Jackson River in Hidden Valley

Jackson River

The photos in this article are about the upper Jackson.  This section of the river flows through a lengthy, roadless section of the George Washington National Forest, about three and a half miles of nothing but river with a walking trail.  For Virginia (and most any Eastern state), this is a lot of pristine riverfront without road access.

In October 2013, my sons and I traveled here, and we walked and fly fished most of the river.  The fall colors were at their peak, absolutely stunning.

Special Regulation Section

Entering the Special Regulation Area

 

Footbridge

Footbridge Crossing at the Special Regulation Area

 

14" Naturalized Brown Trout

14″ Naturalized Brown Trout

 

Jackson River downstream of the bridge

Beautiful Clear Water

 

Clear Water

Good Pools and Submerged Boulders

 

Sun Over Jackson River

Upstream within the Special Regulation Area

 

The Mountainside Aglow with Color

The Mountainside Aglow with Color

 

Brilliant Orange Colors

Brillant Orange Colors

 

Hidden Valley Colors

Yet More Colors

 

Not a Bad Day Fishing

Heading back to the car after hiking and fishing in Hidden Valley

 

Memorial Day 2014

May 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

One of the places in Southwest Virginia that most ardently celebrates Memorial Day is Marion.

The courthouse square becomes a memorial to those men and women from Smyth County who have served the United States in the Armed Forces. Hundreds of flags and crosses are placed to recognize their service to our country.

Smyth County Courthouse, May 22, 2014

Smyth County Courthouse, May 22, 2014

On Thursday, May 22, 2014, the Town of Marion and Rolling Thunder held an outdoor ceremony in front of the Smyth County courthouse to memorialize those soldiers who have been missing in action in each of the U.S. military conflicts since World War I.  The weather outside was perfect for the ceremony.

Panoramic View of the Rolling Thunder Ceremony at the Smyth County Courthouse, May 22, 2014

Panoramic View of the Rolling Thunder Ceremony at the Smyth County Courthouse, May 22, 2014

The grounds in front of the courthouse were literally covered with flags and crosses.  The historical marker on the courthouse lawn, seen below, provides some history about Smyth County and the courthouse.

Grounds in front of the Smyth County Courthouse

Grounds in front of the Smyth County Courthouse

 

 

 

Leafing Out

May 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

The emergence of an abundance of foliage in the Appalachians is the surest sign that Spring is in full force. Every week the hues of green change on the mountains and in the valleys as the leaves grow on the hardwoods. These photos were taken today, Sunday, May 11, 2014, during a hike in the area where Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina meet.

Appalachian Hardwoods Leaf Out, May 11, 2014

Appalachian Hardwoods Leaf Out, May 11, 2014

Leafing Out, May 11, 2014

Leafing Out, May 11, 2014

Happy Easter 2014

April 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

Spring has arrived, and we finally have warm weather after a colder than usual winter. These two mourning doves have been on and about my property for the last three weeks, providing us with entertainment during their courtship.

Mourning doves on a maple tree in Abingdon, Virginia, late March 2014

Mourning doves on a maple tree in Abingdon, Virginia, late March 2014

Late March Sunrise Redux

April 1, 2014 § Leave a comment

Here is the sunrise yesterday. This same time last year I posted a late March sunrise, you can see that here.

March 31, 2014 Sunrise over Abingdon, Virginia

March 31, 2014 Sunrise over Abingdon, Virginia

March’s Lion

March 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

This weekend we once again attended the 2014 Banff Mountain Film Festival (see my previous article about our trip to the 2011 Banff Mountain Festival here and about the 2012 Banff Mountain Film Festival trip here).  The films were, as usual, superb, with a mix of  adreneline-inducing flicks and more circumspect movies about the outdoors.

View of Pond Mountain from Route 91 Between Mountain City and Laurel Bloomery, Tennessee, March 30, 2014

View of Pond Mountain from Route 91 Between Mountain City and Laurel Bloomery, Tennessee, March 30, 2014 coming back from the Banff Film Festival

Some of my favorite films from the two nights were:

  • Flow:  The Elements of Freeride, a short film by a geophysicist who documented his down hill bike ride with diagrams and names of plants and animals;
  • The Last Great Climb, a hard core expedition to an unclimbed peak in Antarctica;
  • The Questions We Ask, an introspective about adventure and paddleboarding; and
  • North of the Sun, a movie about two young Norwegians who live on a desolated beach north of the Arctic Circle through the sunless winter to surf and snowboard, cleaning up trash and flotsam that washes up on the beach.  This film was the overall grand prize winner at the 2014 festival in Banff, Canada.

Last night, after the films, we had a very small taste of extreme conditions as we made a short but harrowing trip up to Blowing Rock in 40 mph winds and blizzard-like blowing snow.  This morning, it was reported that there were 50-60 mph wind gusts in Boone and Blowing Rock, and up to 97 mph (that’s not a typo) on Grandfather Mountain, where we were planning to hike.  Needless to say, the hiking trip we planned was cancelled.  When the storm moved out, blue skies shined over the snow-blanketed mountains.

Here is what it was like in the morning, note the lamp posts that are bent in the wind:

As we left this morning, a 20 foot pine tree had been blown over in the parking lot.  Not exactly the 60 degrees forecasted earlier this week.  March went out with a roar, but we nonetheless enjoyed a nice weekend of adventure film watching.

 

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