Monday, October 06, 2008

"From a land far, far away..."

Technically, southwest Virginia is not that far away. Where my show was this past weekend was removed enough that there was no cell phone or internet service, and my room had no TV or even a land-line phone...one of those rare places where everyone knows and trusts each other, and door locks rarely used. It's all too easy to get hooked into those devices, so while strange it was far more 'freeing' to simply relax in a communication vacuum.

Of course, it's no vacuum at all...Nature always communicates loud and clear, and for a few hours Sunday I had the chance to revisit one of my favorite state parks in that region: Grayson Highlands State Park.


I don't think the weather could have been better scripted. There, just above 4,500 feet in elevation, temperatures were warm enough (easily) for my typical t-shirt and shorts, though I did tie a jacket around my waist as the breezes atop the outcrops were a bit cooling for the light sweat I worked up.

Cobalt blue skies abounded, as did other people taking advantage of the hiking trails sprouting out from Massie Gap. And the color...oh, my, these pictures don't even do it justice. At just a frog hair below 'peak', the display was breath-taking. Don't forget: you can click on the pics to enlarge for a better view.

I was moving too slowly to say I was horsing around, there, but Grayson is known for it's wild yet tame ponies that were introduced and allowed to have free 'rein' of the well-grassed slopes
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Once a year the ponies are rounded up and given health checks, innoculations, etc., and if need be a few colts may be auctioned off to keep the herd properly sized. While people are known to approach them and feed them, the park frowns on it...even though they were docile, I like to respectfully let all animals 'do their thing' and take pictures from afar with my telephoto lens. The youngster above was most content in the warming sunshine, and soon followed mom and dad in the prior shot as they headed off to graze another area.

Mount Rogers is the highest peak in VA, and Grayson Highlands was originally named a part of that park; however, in 1965 it was converted into a state park, where the Mount Rogers region is now a National Recreation Area. Regardless, it's a continuum of preserved wildness for all to enjoy - and so I did.

Alas, it's back to the civilized world to try and squeeze 36 hours of intended effort into a 24 hour day, to check emails and answer messages, to get back to my helping clear out a house for renovations, to making flutes for the other October shows...but first things first: sharing these images with you to give you a beautiful start to your week.

1 comment:

Bill C. said...

Autumn is my favorite time of year. These pictures are great. I was going to put off a trip to the mountains this season, with gas prices being what they are. But these shots are making me reconsider the idea. Also, I didn't know this place exsisted. Thanks for the info.