If you've already seen my first two posts about
our trip, today the action begins. Biking the
Virginia Creeper Trail.
|This marker in Abingdon denotes the original|
first mile post of the Creeper Trail.
|Many of these old markers remain along the 33 mile trail.|
|Though the morning was chilly, the owner signed|
up 11 of us for the 11 o'clock shuttle.
|"Load 'em up and move 'em out!"|
|This map follows our route, from east to west.|
|After a 40 minute ride on winding Highway 58,|
we arrived at Whitetop Station. We had also gained
1500 feet in altitude and the temperature was in the 50's.
But we were ready for that.
|There's Judy in her green sweater.|
"C'mon, Ken. Don't take all day."
|One of the first things I spotted on the trail was a|
virtual sea of one of my favorite plants: ground
cedar. Its colonies spread over entire hillsides.
I don't know these next two wildflowers.
|The first big trestle we came to.|
|Three miles into the ride we arrived at historic Green|
Cove Station. The above history gives you a glimpse,
but there's much more to its history.
|To me, this is pure Americana.|
|This old store still has the items on the shelves that|
were there when it closed years ago. Now how many
museums can say that? The Forest Service employee
was most informative.
|Most of these old tools were specifically for|
Back to the trail . . .
we never knew what to expect next!
|A short side trail gave us easy access to this local|
Christmas tree farm with a view of the valley below.
|The same farmer raised a bumper crop of pumpkins|
in this valley.
|Quite a dropoff to the water beneath this trestle.|
|From Abingdon, VA to Todd, NC, 60 miles away,|
the train line once had 100 bridges and trestles. We
crossed about 30 on our 17 mile bike ride.
|One thing I like about following mountain streams is|
that no two are exactly alike, so you're always
encountering something new.
|We didn't stop to eat at the Creeper Trail Cafe, but|
it is a well-known fixture of the trail, located in
Taylor Valley. They tout their chocolate cake, but
I expect many bikers would devour anything set
before them at this juncture.
|A nice lady offered to snap our pictures.|
|Not once, but twice.|
More scenic beauty along the way.
|The rock formations can be just as captivating as any|
of the other natural wonders.
|What? Another wooly worm?!|
|I spy a hornet's nest!|
|The berries of another of my favorite plants--|
|If you've walked the Sandhills Farm Life Nature|
Trail, this wonderful plant is found in abundance there.
|We're down to the last few miles of our journey now.|
|I believe this was our last bridge before Damascus.|
|Invasive kudzu competes with a pretty|
native orange blossom. I wish we could win
the war against kudzu, but it's not likely.
|This plant is common in the Virginia woodlands, but|
I haven't looked it up yet.
|Just before entering the Damascus town limits|
we encountered the Appalachian Trail again.
No bikes. DUH!
|That pretty well sums up our experience.|
I'd be happy to share helpful information if
you and your family might be interested in
this adventure. Many consider this to be the
best rails-to-trails venue in the eastern U.S.
I wouldn't argue with that.