The journey along the Blue Ridge Parkway is not always predictable—what journey ever is? Sections of the parkway can be closed because of landslides. But when one road closes, another opens. This closure was just after the entrance to Mt. Mitchell, the tallest peak east of the Mississippi River.
The ride up Mt. Mitchell is very different from Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. While Mt. Washington is 400 ft lower at 6,289 ft—compared to Mt. Mitchell’s 6,684 ft—the summit is an alpine zone. The tree line extends to Mt. Mitchell’s summit. This December, it was a windy 37°F at the summit lookout. A park ranger walked up with us and explained this weather was unusual. Normally, he explained, there would be a snow pack of several feet and freezing weather. He is a member of a troop of rangers that man the summit year round. We ended the day at Green Knob Overlook on the way down. Click on the images for larger views.
From the Blue Ridge Parkway. At dusk, light seems to be sucked up out of the valleys and into the sky. Anyone below would probably feel the day has ended. But high on a ridge, the light seems to linger just a little longer. And quietly, the landscape yields to the inevitable darkness. Click in the image for a larger view.
Between Norfolk, and Cape Charles, Virginia is a series of bridges and tunnels that take you across the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the US. The 17.6 mi. or 28.3 km route, known as the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, opened in 1964. Click on the image for a larger view.
This “toenail” was found in a field in East Anglia in the United Kingdom. It was thought carrying one in your pocket could ease the pain of rheumatism. Since this is about 3 inches or 7.5 cm long, it would be a rather large charm.
However, it really is not a toenail, one from the devil or any other creature. It is an extinct animal related to the oyster, known as Gryphaea. They lived in shallow waters during the Mesozoic period, about 250–65 million years ago. Click on the image for a larger view.
Living in Maine, it is always hard not to think of a body of water that does not terminate at the horizon with land as a lake. But a lake does not look like an ocean. At least, I have never seen such a calm ocean, although these lakes can be violent. The tree in this image was felled by the erosion of the sand banks along the shore. The banks are about twelve to twenty feet tall. The coarse white sand on the beach is actually the remains of clam shells. Click on the image for a larger view.
While Canyon de Chelly is a national monument, it is owned by the Navajo tribe. Squash, corn, apples, and peaches are grown on the land. Horses and sheep pasture here. And as ever, it is a source for their cultural and spiritual heritage.
Canyon de Chelly is a layered tapestry in time and space. The rock ledge in the bottom left corner of the image is about 100ft/30m below me. The canyon floor is several hundred feet more. Cottonwood trees, with their bright autumn foliage, mark water running below the surface of the land. Paths and roads trace the passage of the residents, human and animal.