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Thread: Took My Wife and a S&W for Some Fall Hiking

  1. #1
    Curious Caster
    Daekar's Avatar
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    Took My Wife and a S&W for Some Fall Hiking

    We haven't been great about taking our time off this year, so my wife and I spent a few days in southwestern Virginia this week, hiking and eating the local food. We ended up getting a few good pictures out of it, thought I might share some for those who are stuck at work or at home.

    The drive through the country to even get where we were going was lovely. Everything was green from the recent rain, and the folks in SWVa had their harvest-time decorations out.


    Our first stop was Cedar Creek Falls, which was an easy hike from the gravel parking lot to a wide set of low waterfalls. The first steps of the hike were across a perfectly safe but very swingy cable bridge.


    The falls are nice if a bit difficult to photograph thanks to their proportions, and they are unusually lateral - they are really a bunch of steps in the rock which have more depth than the camera can show. They make that satisfying waterfall noise, but not so loud that it can be unpleasant like Roaring Run. There was plenty of room on the shore around the falls for folks to sit in packing chairs and chat until it got too dark to stick around.


    We started back to the trailhead, and there was a nice large rock (boulder? How big does a rock have to be to also be a boulder?) along the trail which provided a nice background for some stainless steel.

    At this point the trail diverged and a harder fork was available to get back to the car so my wife said I should take it if I wanted to. I did, and thus condemned myself to quite a lot of unexpected sweating... they didn't really see fit to put in switchbacks, so it was all straight up! I am also out of shape, which might have something to do with it...

    I was rewarded near the top of the ridge with a rustic bench along the trial. The Mod. 60 took a momentary rest again.


    After what seemed a very long time my harder trail wound back to meet the normal one and we headed out. Just the first day in the woods did a lot to wash away stress from work!

    We stayed at a little hotel in St. Paul and then headed to The Channels the next day. We were blessed with great weather again, perfect temperatures and humidity. The leaves here were further along than at Cedar Creek Falls, so we took an embarrassing number of pictures. I will spare you the vast majority of them here! This was on the way in, before we left the gravel road which leads to the real trailhead.


    One of my favorite things about hiking in Appalachia is when you reach the "rhododendron line" where much of the plant life is displaced by mountain laurel thickets. Here's one of the many parts of the trail lined with them.


    The trees got a bit shorter as we got higher, but they got more colorful. Here's a nice shot from higher on the trail.


    At the top of the mountain there the trail diverges. You can go left and through a mountain laurel thicket to reach an overlook, or you can go right and pass under a fire tower from the 1930s to get to The Channels. We went to the overlook first. It was a grid of huge stones which you had to jump or step across to reach the best views.


    In my opinion it was worth the trouble. Also, it made me feel like a mountain goat. YMMV.
    Last edited by Daekar; 10-17-2021 at 11:10 AM.
    I'm a big fan of data-driven decisions. You want to make me smile, show me a spreadsheet! Extra points for graphs and best-fit predictive equations.

  2. #2
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    After taking in the views we backtracked and passed under the fire tower to The Channels. They are another series of massive stones which have cracked and weathered over the eons so that now they form a natural maze of sorts, almost like a cave with lots of routes and no roof. It is impossible to convey what it looks like and feels like with photos or video, it's just something you have to see for yourself. They're just so big.


    Some sections were more cave-like than others...


    ...and some were less so.


    It might be impossible, but both of us could have sworn that the colors of the leaves got more vivid between the time we arrived in the morning and the time we left in the afternoon. This was somewhere on our way out, it was like walking through a technicolor landscape sometimes.


    After our hike we returned to St. Paul and enjoyed a quiet evening.... after stuffing ourselves with some local BBQ, of course. Resting after the hike and reading a book in bed was a great end to the day.

    We headed home the day after and ate our way home, stopping at local places and making a quick pitstop at Bass Pro to see what they had in stock. No powder or primers, sadly, but they did have a really nice Kimber K6S with a 4" barrel that almost came home with us. Maybe next time.
    I'm a big fan of data-driven decisions. You want to make me smile, show me a spreadsheet! Extra points for graphs and best-fit predictive equations.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy 2A-Jay's Avatar
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    Looks like a great outing to me.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy memtb's Avatar
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    WOW! Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing! Good for you and your lady! memtb
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Nice post and great pics!

  6. #6
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    Great pictures and those grips are beautiful on the SW.
    I Am Descended From Men Who Would Not Be Ruled

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  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Darn close to my neck of the woods.
    Our hikes are usually up on Holston in order to get out of the way. Often times on bikes too.
    “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

  8. #8
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    Beautiful photos! What does that design on the barn in your first photo mean? I’ve seen a few on my bicycle rides here in Texas.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butzbach View Post
    Beautiful photos! What does that design on the barn in your first photo mean? I’ve seen a few on my bicycle rides here in Texas.
    It's called a "barn quilt." It's a kind of folk art, and they do it all the way up into Canada.

    My parents did a tour of the barn quilts around the county my dad's home town is in up in Wisconsin... Over 500 of them!

    That's a lot of time in the car, but they spend half the year up there, and the cold half down here in Texas.

    Sent from my Pixel 5a using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Daekar-Thanks for the beautiful tour of SW Virginia. Fall is the most enjoyable time of year for me. What camera did you use to take the photos?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaPoint View Post
    Daekar-Thanks for the beautiful tour of SW Virginia. Fall is the most enjoyable time of year for me. What camera did you use to take the photos?
    My pleasure! All the photos were taken with either my Galaxy Note 10+ or my wife's Galaxy S10+. We dump our photos into the same cloud storage location so I honestly can't tell which ones came from which phone most of the time unless it's a shot that I wouldn't have thought to take... they might have the same camera sensors and software.
    I'm a big fan of data-driven decisions. You want to make me smile, show me a spreadsheet! Extra points for graphs and best-fit predictive equations.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butzbach View Post
    Beautiful photos! What does that design on the barn in your first photo mean? I’ve seen a few on my bicycle rides here in Texas.
    I believe that is derived from Amish Hex signs put on buildings and barns.
    I Am Descended From Men Who Would Not Be Ruled

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butzbach View Post
    Beautiful photos! What does that design on the barn in your first photo mean? I’ve seen a few on my bicycle rides here in Texas.
    Ryanmattes is correct, they're barn quilts. I assume they're made of different material than normal quilts, but they do look the same! No special meaning that I know of, they're for decoration.
    I'm a big fan of data-driven decisions. You want to make me smile, show me a spreadsheet! Extra points for graphs and best-fit predictive equations.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Barn quilts are usually painted onto plywood. They are often registered with a regional group that maps their locations.
    Spell check doesn't work in Chrome, so if something is spelled wrong, it's just a typo that I missed.

  15. #15
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    I have several quilts with that pattern in several colors that my Grandmother made. Nice photos. I like living in Florida but I do miss the hills in Kentucky where I grew up.

  16. #16
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    You were a bit south of me. We went to Winchester VA Saturday and basically said the same thing about the leaves changing color that quick. I hate the cold but the changing of the leaf colors is really beautiful. I have a great view from my porch and swear the view changes hourly.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Thanks for the great photos and a great write up.

  18. #18
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    Thanks for the reminder. Been there, done that, several (many) years ago. Beautiful photography.
    Wayne the Shrink

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  19. #19
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    Beautiful!

  20. #20
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    Very nice up that way, Thanks for posting the pictures.

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