As we traveled north from Vero Beach, we remained near the coast and therefore in the eastern flatlands up to North Carolina where we stopped to visit Priscilla Temple and her husband Jerry. Our stop was brief, but we enjoyed the visit, and Priscilla had a big bag of longleaf pine needles for Sandra’s basket making. From there we headed west toward the hills and mountains of North Carolina.
After a brief stop to visit with Sandra’s sister Kim, we continued on to the Hickory area where we stopped for a visit with my sister Kathy and her family. They took us up to Grandfather Mountain for a day trip. What great views we enjoyed from this mountain that is one of the tallest mountains in the East. We even crossed a walking Bridge at exactly 1 mile high.
The swinging Bridge on Grandfather Mountain
Looking out at the Blue Ridge Mountains
After that enjoyable visit, we headed back east to the flatlands and Newport News, Virginia where our daughter Jennifer lives. After only a brief stop here, we went back west into the mountains again to support Jenn in her newest interest – trail running. For those unfamiliar, I should tell you that this trail running is really a race over mountain trails. This one was a 25k race. Since these courses are over rough trails, often requiring one to scramble over boulders, it takes significantly longer to complete the run as compared to road race of the same distance.
A short bit of the race was on a road.
This race had a small group of runners – about 36 – and she was pleased to finish in the middle of the pack. She was surprised, however, to learn that she was the second finishing woman and therefore received recognition for that accomplishment.
The race was held in a state park in the southwestern corner of Virginia described as the Grand Canyon of the South. Apparently this Gorge, at a depth of 1000 feet, is the deepest Gorge east of the Mississippi. The race, called the Rhododendron Run, was timed at peak season for this beautiful flower to be blossoming.
More beautiful vistas.
Lots of Blossoms in the woods
This Park was, however, not easy to reach. The roads in the whole area of the state are steep and windy with lots of switchbacks – not great for those who might get car sick easily.
We found kudzu vines crawling everywhere in this part of the state. We understand that in the south kudzu now covers more than 7 million acres.
Since we have traveled nearly 1000 miles north of sunny, warm Florida one would think the temperatures would be cooler. Not so. Other than our time in the mountains, since arriving in North Carolina and Virginia, we have seen temperatures regularly getting into the ninety’s – occasionally up around 100 – and it’s still only June. I guess we’ll have to continue travelling all the way to New England to get to some cool weather. We’ll be doing just that in a couple of weeks.
Till the next installment, carpe diem