Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Saturday --Panther Falls Swimming and Sunday........ Blue Ridge Parkway Drive

 Field Poppy blooming in the corn field. 

Saturday --Panther Falls Swimming and Sunday........ Blue Ridge Parkway Drive 

Sunday May 30, 2017

Dana & Kenny Koogler
Emily Bryant
Earline Watson 

Pictures are here: Virginia Visit Pix Starting with Frame 350

  Saturday  was my mom's day off work. Emily was home so I made sure to go down to the house
fairly early.  I wanted to spend time with them.   We headed out first to Karis.. a thrift store in Weyers Cave area.  It is a nice store, but pricey and they sell mainly upscale home furnishings and antiques. 
We did not buy anything. I won't go back unless Mom just wants to go or unless I am in the market for furniture.    I was not sure what to do next. Emily had a great idea. She suggested we go get something to eat and then go up to Panther Falls and swim.  I liked that idea and so did mom.
We stopped by McDonald's on the way home and grabbed lunch.  We just got it to go and hurried back to the house to get ready to go to Buena Vista.   

         I have been to Panther Falls once before. It was Winter and Kenny was with me. 
It is on the Pedlar River and is a very scenic spot.  In Winter with snow on the ground the whole area around the stream looks like a post card.  It has red berries against the deep colors of the river and the white of snow and ice.    Today we pulled up and found it busy with other hikers, campers and swimmers. The first visit there we stood on the frozen Pedlar River and had our picture taken! 
Today the forest was deep green and shady beneath the hot sun and blue skies.   The woods smelled 
fragrant from honeysuckle and poplar blossoms.  The trail was muddy in spots and water flowed out of numerous side streams.  

Panther Falls 

 This vantage point lets you see more of the chug hole to one side and the debris in the falls.
Log to slow you down or stop you as you go.
Emily jumping 1.
 beautiful mountain laurel lined the stream banks in different spots
 Pale corydalis.. rock harlequin growing on the rocks near the river. First time seeing this for me.
 Waterleaf blooming by the stream.
 The Pedlar River upstream
Looking downstream on the Pedlar just above the falls.  
   It is a very short hike to reach Panther Falls which is about fifteen feet high or so. 
It is not a huge waterfall, but it is an excellent swimming hole.  Lots of sloping rocks to sit on and sunbathe and warm up or jump off.  The recent rains had the falls roaring. Lots of chunks of flotsam
churned in the water near the falls.   We watched a guy jump off the bluff into the pool at the falls.
It did not look very safe to me. The current was strong.  We finally decided to jump in off the lower rocks  where the water was not as swift.  A huge log was stretched across the river to help slow 
you down if necessary.    

            We held hands and I counted us down to one then we jumped! It was icy cold. We came up 
laughing and gasping for breath.  We swam over to the log and gathered our wits.  Then we ducked under the log and swam to the nearby rocks on the far side.  The river was so cold that it turned your skin bright pink.  We climbed up the rocks and sat there then continued back up to where Mom stood watching us along with other visitors.    We spent some time there. Emily said we should come back sometime and camp.  It did look like a nice place to do just that.  Finally we hiked back out and 
dried off.  We drove home.  The drive to Panther Falls is pretty. Mountain views and country scenery.
The drive takes you along the Maury River and past the Coffee Pot.

         We went back home and had dinner and sat out on the lawn and had some good quiet conversation.  The evening air was perfect.  No bugs.  No noise.  The lawn was freshly mowed and smelled great.  It was good to be home.  I miss times like this and I'm glad to be able to go home.
I spent the night at the house.  I slept well.   

  Sunday Morning 

     Kenny and I had wanted to enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway while we were  here.  
We decided I'd drive to the farm and pick him up and then we'd go to Vesuvius and up Tye River Turnpike to start our drive. We'd come off at Rockfish Gap and drive over to Mom's to visit.
We figured if we picked a short drive we could fit in a couple nice hikes.   We planned to hike to 
White Rock Falls and hike to Humpback Rocks.   Neither of those things would take long.


above are a few photos of the farm.  poppies growing in the field.  Looking back the long country lane toward the house.   Rural life in the middle of an Ag-Forestal district is not very exciting, but it is pretty. You have to know how to be ok with isolation.  It is not convenient to stores, gas stations, post office, or medical attention.   Trips to town have to be batched together because it is about twenty five miles in any direction to a town of any size in either direction.  Lexington to the south.
Staunton to the north.  No grocery stores or Wal Marts or that sort of thing until you go there.
Gas station and interstate are about eight miles in one direction.. 12 miles in the other direction.

           Once I picked Kenny up we headed out toward the parkway.  We hurried along since
we did not have but about half day to do things.   My nephew Joshua had graduated high school on Saturday.  We had a graduation party to attend today at 3 pm in Vesuvius at the Baptist church I grew up going to.     We enjoyed the drive up route 56 toward the parkway.  It is pretty, steep and curvy.
 We got up to the top and had to check directions to remember which way to go toward White Rocks at Slacks Overlook.

            The parkway was foggy today, but pretty.  We stopped at Big Spy Overlook but it was socked in with fog.   No views here.   We got out and walked around,but did not linger since the views were non existent today.    We began seeing loads of mountain laurel and catawba rhododendrons just after we left Big Spy Overlook.  It was beautiful.

 Mountain laurel in the foreground and purple catawba rhodo in the background.
 Two shades of catawba rhodos.. pale and deep purple.
 A mass of bloom below the parkway.
 lots of blooms
close up of the pale purple blooms.

Foggy view of the parkway this morning.

        We drove along and enjoyed the blooms. We got to Slacks Overlook just about the time the sky opened up and began to pour rain.  We sat and waited awhile, but it never stopped.  We finally left and continued our drive.  The rain ruined our hiking plans, but the drive was pretty. It had been a long time since we were up here.   We came off the parkway and headed to Waynesboro for lunch.
We had a nice lunch and some time together at Applebees.   The sun finally came out, but we had to wrap up our day and go visit with Mom and the family.  The rest of our trip was nice but no more outdoor stuff.    I hope that it won't be long til we can come back and do some more visiting and hiking. Below is a short video of Panther Falls.

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