Wait, how did it suddenly become the end of September? Where did 2018 go so fast? Ah, well, such is life.
This week started with me still hanging out at Natural Tunnel State Park, literally the only state park left open in in Virginia or North Carolina, thanks to Flo. Friday, it was time to give North Carolina another shot. The ironic part is that my drive took me 90% of the way back to Hungry Mother State Park, the place I had left the prior Saturday to get away from potential Florence flooding. The good news is that at least I knew the routing well 🙂
I hadn’t realized the rest of the route would involve an uphill climb to Mount Rogers before heading east and then south again. The Subaru climbed slowly but steadily up the steep grade, and I was kind of pleased to pass a big pickup with a fifth-wheel trailer, pulled off the side of the road with the hood up, overheated, apparently. It was definitely a workout. The view coming down was worth it, though.
I usually try not to move on Fridays or Sundays, to avoid the weekenders who have no choice but to arrive on Friday and leave Sunday. This time, though, here I was on a Friday, arriving at 4PM, along with everyone else. The front desk at the Visitor Center was quick, though, and I was in my spot 10 minutes later. It’s close to the road, but since the campground is mostly empty, it’s fine.
I walked a bit down the road outside the campground on Sunday and then drove farther out on Tuesday and learned two things about this area of northwestern North Carolina: (1) it’s pumpkin growing season and (2) growing Christmas trees is also big. Here’s a photo showing both those activities, with the baby-sized Christmas trees in the background.
I had gone out with the intent to take that photo, but what I didn’t expect was this one. I’ve been studying the images of Sally Mann, who did a lot of photography in the South, and so I’m paying homage to her influence in this one. If you don’t know her work, here’s a link to a google search of some of her photographs. I saw a retrospective of her work at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. last Spring and it’s stuck with me.
It’s still pretty green here in North Carolina, as I discovered in a quick hike through the forest.
But I have hope. There are signs the fall colors are coming. I’ll wait.
The waiting is the hardest part.