Take your mind back to Sunday August 28th and imagine me moving out of Bear Den Campground in the North Carolina Mountains to the mountains of SW Virginia. Over the preceeding days, I had planned this drive carefully. When Sharon was here we drove part of google’s idea which was the most direct route and only 125 miles. Later I checkout the route to and out of Spruce Pine and chose to do that and go 50 miles out of my way to avoid narrow and winding roads and stay on gradually mountain climbing interstates. It took nearly twice as long. But I didn’t care. It kept me on big roads going up and out of these mountains. More time, more gas, less stress
I arrived after a long tiring drive drive. The wonderful camp host came by and helped me back Winnona into her long narrow site. I hooked up the electric, put out the slides and chilled out. Leftovers were at the ready thankfully.
As you can see, the campground has sites with no hook ups, some with electric only which is what I have and a few with water and electric. No water hook up for me. The good news is I had a water spigot by the road at the front of my site. The bad news, which I didn’t know until I was already set up, is that the spigot had no threads for hooking up a hose to fill your tank. So I just filled gallon jugs for everything including flushing. Not a big deal. I did this just fine for two weeks. My site # 46 was also right beside Stony Creek which crisscrosses the campground road at several spots, all of which are low and prone to flooding with days of rain. But, the creek is lovely and the sound of the water after it rained was too.
AND I was right near the Nature Trail. That’s Winnona and Ruby in the background.
The next morning I took a hike on the campground Nature Trail which turned out to have an abundant variety of mushrooms.
It was an amazing amount of fungi. It seemed to be everywhere I looked.
I wondered if this one would catch rain in a pool if I came during a rain storm.
So white, as though it had been bleached.
At first it appears this mushroom is growing straight out of the bark of this fallen tree. Mushrooms are not plants so they don’t have roots as such. Mushrooms have an amazing network of mycelium.
Looking closer I see that the mushroom has grown out of this hole which has probably filled with decomposing matter. Like other decomposers, mushrooms help wood to rot and return to soil. The whole system is just beyond belief.
No two alike I’m sure.
Also at my feet were black walnuts still in the first of their two protective shells. I wonder why they have two. These are seriously tough nuts to crack. They have both this pulpy green covering and a really thick shell. Squirrels must have incredible jaws and teeth to eat these.
I remember hearing stories from old time farm neighbors of their having to don gloves and pick up these green looking nuts to scatter on their lane so the vehicles would smash the outer covering before they got out hammers to crack the shells. The gloves were because handling the nuts directly would cover their hands in a dark brown color that was difficult to remove. Great as a brown dye no doubt.
This is one of my favorites from today. I like its mottled top and matching colored stem.
Another rainwater catcher??
I assume this is some sort of a puffball. I love its non smooth skin. I choose it as another of today’s favorites. Do you have any favorites?
Although a similar color to my favorite above, this one has a white stem. How can their be so many unique mushrooms all in this same area?
This one appeared to be growing sideways rather than broken off.
The Stony Fork nature trail is a horse shoe shaped trail starting and ending on the campground road. At its highest point up the mountain, the much longer Seven Sisters trail goes off from it. Not today. I have friends coming this afternoon.
Two tiers. Isn’t it great? Favorite #3.
Ruffled, dark, trimmed in cream. Another favorite.
Similar to the above but a swirl. It’s all just amazing.
And if you don’t have an RV, you can come and walk the Nature Trail and stay in the park’s only log cabin.
Happy happy for me Jodee had planned her route so that she and Bill could stop and see me for a couple of days here. We met each other through our blogs and this is the 2nd or perhaps 3rd time we’ve met in person. They are so great at meeting up with friends and family on the road. I’m honored to be included.
The next day the 4 of us (Tessa included) went to lunch in Wytheville at The Log House Restaurant built here as a two room home in the famous year of 1776. There were additions in 1804 and in 1898. There was a printed history of the house and its additions on every table.
Thank goodness I took this picture before we even ordered since I obviously took none of the food we had. As usual, we were too busy talking.
Jodee and I took a tour around the restaurant after lunch. There were quite a variety of places to eat other than the front room where we were. Though all of the people eating lunch were in that front room.
And displays of artifacts found on the property.
It’s an interesting sort of higglety pigglety building.
I snap this picture as we leave. I’m not sure whether Tessa is going to get any of the contents of “the doggy bag”.
On their final day here and the last day of August, Jodee and I took a trip up to Big Walker Lookout to see the store, the tower, and the views. It is definitely a SW Virginia attraction. Many patrons arrive on motorcycles as the surrounding narrow curving mountain roads are advertised specifically to them.
Coming attractions were posted.
Here is the tower which you can pay $8 to climb for better views. We declined. There is also a swinging bridge (lower right) that will take you over to the structure blocking the view in one of the pictures below. No way would I get on that swinging bridge given the looks of it but we saw someone do it and survive.
We snatched a volunteer to get our picture in front of some of the kitsch including the guy behind us.
I love this one of Jodee and her guy in the tie . We did no end of “commenting” and laughing.
This is the picture of the other end of the “swinging bridge”. The views would be even nicer without it.
Sadly they left the next day and due to some health issues for Bill had to make a mad dash for home in Arizona. All turned out well thankfully. I really loved seeing them and so appreciate their effort to meet me here.