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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blue Ridge Parkway Winter Caching - Fancy Gap to Roanoke, Virginia

To celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary Paula and I took off up the Blue Ridge Parkway for an overnight trip to Roanoke, Virginia. We got a late start after a leisurely morning and a lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. We traveled up past Pilot Mountain, NC and up through Fancy Gap, Virginia. The view of Surrey County, NC all the way back to the Pilot is incredible from Fancy Gap. We picked up a few caches along the highway. At Fancy Gap we picked up the Blue Ridge Parkway north to Roanoke. It was overcast and cold but with no precipitation. Our first cache was called Jasper (GC16B4D) hidden deep in the Rhododendron along Round Meadow Creek. We had to hike in along the trail and then bushwhack in. The problem with Rhododendron is that to get through it you either have to crawl or walk all hunched over. We had about a 100 foot bushwhack so it was a chore. As we worked our way in along a particular heading we lost satellite signal. We came back out on the original trail. Once we got some signal again we started back in and quickly lost signal. This time we tried to measure our steps for distance and hold the heading as best we could. Then Paula saw the ammo can sitting beside a Rhododendron. Nobody is going to stumble on it out here unless they come looking for it. Nice cache! From here we headed a few miles further north to Millin' and Stillin' (GCH61V), a virtual cache at the famous Mabry Mill near Meadows of Dan. This was a neat place. We learned the history of the mill and took some pictures. This is the most famous mill and photo opportunity along the parkway. We completed the requirements for the cache and headed on. Soon we arrived at Rocky Knob. The large rock formations in the fields along the road begged us to stop. We took a few pictures before heading on down the parkway. Our next stop was Grandparents Visit (GCAF9A) as we got near Roanoke. It was an easy overlook cache hidden in a traditional way. Along the way we saw 20 deer grazing in the fields, some close to where we passed. They were not afraid of us, only lumbering away as though we were bothering them. I guess we were. The parkway winds down from on high to the valley at Roanoke. As we came down the day was ending and we could see the familiar Peaks of Otter Mountain further up the parkway. We found our hotel and settled in for a comfortable evening.
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