Does 2020 seem like a lost year so far? If you’re like me it has. I’ve been self-isolating since mid-March because of coronavirus. I only venture out to get groceries for my dad and myself. I have been hiking a grand total of once since March, and that time was only after entering Phase II of the grand reopening. Obviously soon after, positive cases began soaring, so it was back to stay home, stay safe.
In the meantime, folks have been visiting state and national parks in record breaking numbers, and in a lot of cases, leaving their trash behind. I never have understood litter, especially on our beautiful public lands, but apparently many find it necessary to exhibit their privilege. As a trash collecting volunteer on the Blue Ridge Parkway this saddens me.
Parkway management finally told the volunteers we were allowed to come back and work in June. I’ve resisted the temptation up to this point, but felt it was probably about time to do my part. So on Sunday, July 26th I packed up my mask, my gloves, my reacher-grabber tool and sanitary wipes for an inspection and cleaning of Pounding Mill Overlook. I went early in the morning to avoid as much crowding as possible. Much to my surprise, the overlook was not entirely trashed. There was more than usual, but mostly small stuff like paper and cigarettes.
I brought my camera along too, so when I finished my chores, it was time for a peaceful drive west on the Parkway. Starting at milepost 410, I continued to milepost 430 with many stops along the way. The weather was near ideal early, but as the morning wore on, the clouds began building. I stopped at Ferrin Knob Overlook for a lunch break, and watched the traffic on the Parkway building as well.
About noon I called it a day because of crowding, and concern about thunderstorms. I had one additional stop planned, along Scenic Byway 276, at one of the old CCC stone bridges over Looking Glass Creek. The ever intensifying clouds helped set the mood. Fortunately I got a few shots in before the sky opened up about five minutes after I finished. It was a wet drive the rest of the way to Brevard.
Below are some of the photos I captured on this day, only my second time out since March 2020. Feel free to leave any comments.
This post was created by Jeff Clark. Please feel free to use the sharing icons below, or add your thoughts to the comments. Pack it in, pack it out. Preserve the past. Respect other hikers. Let nature prevail. Leave no trace.