January 1, 2018

For the last several years, Wayne and I have visited a Virginia state park on New Year’s Day.  This year–with the bitterly cold temperatures and by getting a late start–we decided to stay a bit closer to home.

We drove into Nelson County, on through the communities of Afton, Nellysford, and Beech Grove, past Wintergreen Resort, and then up, up the mountain to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  This is one of our favorite drives no matter the season.

  

  

I mentioned it was cold, right?

  

Cold, but incredibly beautiful….

  

It was even colder when we reached the Raven’s Roost overlook, and it was windy, too.  Brrrr!

  

  

We took a quick “selfie” with the wide Shenandoah Valley as our backdrop, then scurried back to the warmth of the car.

  

  

The Blue Ridge Parkway curves along the mountain’s crest, sometimes through forests, and sometimes to the top of the world….

  

While it’s not uncommon to see ice on the rocks during the winter, we were surprised to see what appeared to be a frozen waterfall on the side of a hill.  Usually this area is hidden by leaves.

  

  

One of the notable landmarks along this section of the Parkway is Humpback Rocks.  The trail that leads to the top of the outcropping is advertised as a “40 minute walk,” but it’s really a long, hard climb.  I haven’t been up there for years, and yet as cold as it was, some hale and hearty souls were enjoying the view from the summit!

  

As you near the northern end of the Parkway, there are views to the east of the Rockfish Valley. (The Shenandoah Valley is on the western side of the mountain.)

  

  

When we were almost back to “civilization,” Wayne took a last, random shot of the trees.  As I was editing the pictures, I zoomed in and it appears that there were two hawks in the trees.  See the two small spots of orange against the right side of the pine tree?

  

Before heading home, we made a quick stop in the Shenandoah Valley to drop off some soup bowl “cozies” that I’d made for my cousin, Mary.  Since she enjoys camping, I figured she’d like the fabric!  (If time permits, I’ll try to make some other cozies for our Etsy shop.)

  

Heading east again, we stopped–as we often do–at the overlook on Afton Mountain.  This view of the Rockfish Valley always reminds me of family, the genealogy research that’s intrigued me for nearly 20 years, and how blessed I’ve been to spend most of my life with these old mountains as companions….

  

I have to admit that my favorite things about winter are flannel, sweatpants, lots of blankets on the bed, the warmth from our wood stove–and staying inside!–but I’m glad that we spent part of this cold winter day–the first day of 2018–appreciating the beauty that’s all around us.

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