Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Grayson Highlands State Park

"Chance of showers at 3:00." As we traveled to Grayson Highlands State Park (about 60 miles via I-81, Route 16, and Route 58), we knew we had only a limited time for a walk in the park. To take a few miles off the total, we turned onto Route 621 off Route 16. We soon saw a rectangular traffic sign that had a highway-looking symbol in the lower half and many irregularly-shaped solid black circles on the upper half. We guessed what that meant, but ventured on anyway. After two miles our guess was confirmed--the highway became a gravel road.

Now we are not averse to adventures, but our brief experiences with highways numbered in the 600's were not fun. We turned around and went back to the original route. When we saw where 621 joined 16 farther south, we looked up 621 to see what the road looked like at that point. Surprisingly, a large sign blocking the road said "Road Closed." We imagined having to back uphill on that narrow gravel road for who knows how many miles. One mis-adventure avoided.

Most of Virginia's "Crooked Road" follows Route 58 as it winds through the hills of southwestern Virginia. We can attest to the accuracy of the name of this road. There is a campground in the Highlands, and RV friends of ours towed an RV up this winding route to the campsite that was probably near the 5039' elevation at the Visitors' Center. I tip my hat to Jim Jones; that was some very good driving to navigate those turns. I think that going downhill was even more challenging. Bravo!

The first overlook presented us with this view. The haze in the distance may have been due to the humidity, or fog, or low clouds, but it reduced the clarity of the view.

We walked the Two Pinnacles Trail after leaving the Visitors' Center. The path presented us with scenes of interest equal to those that were to come at the end of the trail.

Arriving at the top, we had quite a view of the valley below in spite of the haze. A church and cemetery are on the left of the scene and the home on the right has an evergreen farm in front.

As we left the Highlands, this view of cattle grazing presented a peaceful farewell.

At 2:50, the downpour began.

No comments: