Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Blue Ridge Mountains

We spent two gorgeous days in Virginia winding down the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains along a meandering route known as Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Here the riotous colors of fall that we have followed down the eastern seaboard from Vermont were stealing across the verdant landscape. I learned that rather than “turning” colors in the fall, each day as the chlorophyll drains from the leaves, the vibrant shades of red, yellow and gold emerge from the leaves where they have lay hidden under the cover of green. For almost 225 miles we traveled along this narrow winding ribbon of road and marveled at the unspoiled beauty that spread before us.

The only commercial enterprises in the entire length of this drive are operated by the National Park Service, and are quietly placed there with only a small park style sign to mark their presence. Other than these few discreet interruptions, there are no fast food joints, no tourist traps, no billboards, and very little else to distract your eye from the natural beauty of the area. In many areas, the deep dark forests roll over the hills for as far as the eye can see, and it is easy to imagine this magical place as it was when only the early inhabitants wandered through here to hunt and gather. Deer are abundant, and although it is strictly illegal to feed them so that they will remain as wild as possible, they have little or no fear of man as they cannot be hunted here either. Walking through the forest on the first day, I came across two bucks grazing on a luxurious patch of grass. As I emerged from the woods, these two large animals with their imposing rack of antlers were less than ten feet away from me and at first I believe I was more surprised by them than they were by me. They nonchalantly looked up at me, then dropped their heads to the grass and resumed their quiet chewing.

When we returned at last to a small city on the edge of the park, I was dragged kicking and screaming back into civilization and reminded once again of the impact we have on this planet. Like an island in the sea, this small oasis is a treasure and a reminder that “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”.


  1. We just purchased a 15 acre farm in Hillsville, VA just off the Blue Ridge Parkway before you head into North Carolina. I can't wait to move there! We're in Denver now, which is beautiful too, but not in the same way having a lack of deciduous treas other than the ubiquitous Aspen in certain valleys.

    Thanks for the great post. It makes me happy that you enjoyed the trip so much. Maybe you can come check out our cabins some day!

  2. Lucky you! The area is beautiful. We lived in Conifer, CO for a while, and there it was the ubiquitous pines!