Friday, November 25, 2022

Jodee & Bill Visit Stony Fork

August 28 -31, 2022                                                    Most Recent Posts:
Stony Fork Campground                Opps…Price Lake and Mellow Mushroom
Site 46                                                              Linn Cove Viaduct Boulder Field
Wytheville, Virginia

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

IMG_3895My destination was Stony Fork Campground, in the Jefferson National Forest at the foot of Big Walker Mountain  outside of Wytheville Virginia.  It sits in a dense forest at 2400 feet.

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.

PXL_20220829_122200640As 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.


  1. Higgledy piggledy. Now there’s a term I haven’t seen in many years. Definitely made this blog read worthwhile… 👍🏽.
    Are you developing a Book of Mushrooms? You should. ❤️

    1. Glad you enjoyed the turn of phrase. I'd have to be able to identify them all to make a book of which there are already many.

  2. I'm with Jodee there, you need a coffee table book of mushrooms. My favorite is the one with the reddish color on top. A few polka-dots and it would be like Mario Brothers mushrooms 🍄

    1. Grr... Laurie Owen not sure why anonymous this time!

    2. Glad you noticed that Blogger made you anonymous. So irritating. Love the Mario brothers reference

  3. I visited that neat country store two years ago on my annual motorcycle trip with my brothers. None of us was brave enough to climb that tower no matter how much we Double-Dog-Dared each other. :cO

    1. Clearly the store is a favorite among motorcyclists. Wish your boys had been coming through this past summer.

  4. I love all your mushroom photos. I agree, you need to make a book.

  5. So fun that Jodee and Bill came to visit! Meeting up with friends on the road is one of the best parts of traveling. And I agree with everyone else, you have a superb collection of fungi photos!

    1. It was wonderful of them to come to visit me for sure. Just wish I could identify all my photos and remember them when I see them again.

  6. I Iike the double decker mushroom. So neat to have friends visit on the road! And nice that there are helpful folks to help back in the RV 😀

    1. Yes the helpful people and the friends on the road are wonderful. I wish you could come and visit me on the road like you used to. We'd have a grand time.

  7. I was amazed at the variety of mushrooms that you managed to photograph. I think I might notice mushrooms a bit more now in my world thanks to you taking so many photos of them. We have lots over on the coast and will be there in a couple of weeks. I will make a point to look for them when we go. Melody told me that she and Robert got huge chanterelles that they had to share with friends, and of course, morels are the favorite around here. So great that friends were in your part of the world when they could visit you. We weren't so lucky this time around.

    1. So glad I could interest you in mushrooms. Morels and chanterelles....oh my ....YUM! Definitely wish you could have stopped in Virginia on your way coming or going.

  8. Found yet another beautiful camp, just perfect for company. And SO MANY mushrooms. I might recognized a few.

    1. Yes and I had even more company the day Jodee and Bill left. Wish you'd been here to id those mushrooms for me.

  9. I was so sure we were going to miss you on our route and very excited when it turned out we could remedy that with just a couple quick changes!! Wish we'd had longer as I'm sure we would have solved all of the world's problems :-)) Glad you got the great pics of the historic restaurant and the mountaintop trading post.

  10. Boy did you find the variety of mushrooms there, abundant decomposing matter and great moist conditions!
    Really loved the cabin and store, new info about using vehicles to pre-crack the outer shells of the walnuts is nice to have, thanks!


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