Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day One Hundred-twenty-four, 090702 - BRP#9 Big Island, VA

Day One Hundred Twenty-four, Date Thursday, July 2, 2009
Time in Saddle: 7:14
Distance for the Day: 45.65 miles From BRP SC#8 To BRP SC#9-Big Island
Accumulated Trip Distance: 5945.54
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 1541’/3512’, Highest: 3953’ Accumulated: 5295’
Speeds: Avg: 6.3 mph, Max: 38.8 mph
Weather: 58° windy and clear
Expenditures: $17

Since I was totally invisible to the rest of the world in this stealth camp, I slept late – until 6am, and was ready to roll by 6:33am. The temperature last night was fairly warm at around 78°, so I slept on top of my sleeping bag. This morning, it was totally clear skies and mild temperatures. I was down to an elevation of 1164’ ASL at MM 119, but knew I would hit the Peaks of Otter and the highest point on the Virginia side of the Blue Ridge Parkway (3950’ ASL), today. So, I figured I’d have at least a good 1976’ of climbing to do, today (oof!) *if* the road only went up. Of course, there were no doubt going to be downs as well as ups, so the accumulated climbs would likely be greater than 1976’ worth (double-oof!) I stopped at 7:45am for 45 minutes for breakfast of breakfast bar, Pepsi, Gatorade and trailmix; then continued on at 8:25am. I bottomed-out down to 1000’ ASL over the Roanoke river, took some pictures, and began my climb. Along the way, being near Roanoke, I saw a couple dozen bird houses on 5’ high poles along the BRP that were designed in such a way as to prevent squirrels from invading them. I stopped to take a picture of one of these, and the mother bird of this birdhouse started buzzing me to drive me away. It would fly down and miss me by inches, fly up, turn around, and fly back down to miss me by inches, again, and it did this as long as I was close to the birdhouse. Pretty amazing to see it fly up, turn around, and swoop down right for my head, time after time! I also saw a bunny rabbit, a deer, *and* a cuuute little baby skunk, less than a foot long, not three feet from me on the side of the road, with its nose stuck in the grass, probably rooting around for worms. I did not stop to take its picture. I stopped for lunch and blogging from about 2pm to 4:30pm at the Peaks of Otter restaurant ($12), and also got drinks and candy ($5) from the gift shop, there. By around 7pm in the evening, but still 1.5 hours before sunset, I found another nice overlook stealth camp (N37 32.408’ W79 29.396’). I read my book and ate trailmix and drank soda and Gatorade. A couple of guys were trying to fix a car in the parking lot – they stayed pretty late, but eventually got their car running, and took off a little after it got dark. I set up my hammock, and went to sleep at about 9pm. Boy, the wind was howling again out of the west all night, so I used my earplugs to good effect.

1 comment:

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