American Locations 7 – North River 2

The trip is from New River, West Virginia, to Stinking Creek, Tennessee, by way of Long Key, Florida. 

North River Campground, North Carolina

 

We took other drives while waiting out the hurricane. One was to Elizabeth City, which is on the Pasquotank River, which flows into Albemarle Sound. Notice the overcast skies. The winds were strong here this day, but not destructive.

0127_Arbermarle Sound

0128_Albermarle Sound

0129_Arbermarle Sound

0130_Arbermarle Sound

0131_Arbermarle sound

 

Another day I took a hike for several miles into the North River Game Land. The campground host warned me black bears inhabited the area, but it was unlikely I’d encounter one unless I ventured off the trails deep into the wild land. I had no intention of doing that.

0132_game reserve

0133_game reserve

0135_game reserve

0136_game reserve

0137_game reserve

0139_game reserve

 

There were some large hawks flying around the tall trees, but I never got a good shot of them.

0144_game reserve

0145_game reserve

 

After three days the hurricane passed. Luckily it had stayed out to sea and only grazed the Outer Banks. So when the authorities gave the all clear we packed up and continued our trip.

   Next Location – Corolla, Outer Banks

American Locations 6 – North River

The trip is from New River, West Virginia, to Stinking Creek, Tennessee, by way of Long Key, Florida.

 North River Campground, North Carolina

 

We drove east on Hwy. 158. We skirted the southern edge of The Great Dismal Swamp on to the coast, where the road turned south. At the southern tip of the peninsula we crossed from the mainland onto the Outer Banks at Kitty Hawk. As we continued south on the barrier island on 158 we noticed traffic was streaming north and we were practically the only vehicle heading south. So we pulled into a store to see if anything was going on. Was it ever. A hurricane was moving inland and people were being advised to evacuate. We never listen to the radio while traveling, I don’t like all the DJ jibber-jabber, so we usually listen to music. We immediately turned around and joined everybody else driving off the barrier island.

We found a private campground not too far away from the coast to wait out the storm. The North River Campground is on the edge of North River Game Land, a wildlife sanctuary.

0113_North River CG

 

We were safely away from the coast here, but the wind still rocked us. We stayed several days, until it was safe to proceed back out onto the Outer Banks. Some of the time it was too windy to even be outside. So we hunkered down. But other days the wind let up enough for us to drive around. We took a drive up to see The Great Dismal Swamp.

0114a_Dismal Swamp SP

0114_Dismal Swamp SP

 

The visitor center had an impressive taxidermy display.

0117_Dismal Swamp SP

0118_Dismal Swamp SP

0121_Dismal Swamp SP

 

There was also a short boardwalk through the swamp. As you can see by all the fallen trees, they have to contend with frequent strong hurricane winds.

0123_Dismal Swamp SP

0125_Dismal Swamp SP

 

The purple berries again. They were all over the state.

0126_Dismal Swamp SP

 

Next Location – North River 2

 

 

 

American Locations 5 – Merchant’s Millpond

The trip is from New River, West Virginia, to Stinking Creek, Tennessee, by way of Long Key, Florida.

 Merchant’s Millpond State Park, North Carolina

 

We drove east on Hwy. 58 away from Occoneechee State Park to Hwy. 1, which we took south out of Virginia into North Carolina. We turned east onto Hwy. 158. It was a pleasant sunny drive through more open farmland. There are still a lot of tobacco farms in North Carolina. There are also a lot of solar panel arrays, many more than I’ve seen in most states. This far south with abundant sunshine they must make good sense. East on 158 took us nearly all the way to Merchant’s Millpond State Park. We turned south onto Mill Pond Road into the park.

The park is in a small swamp.

0090_Merchants Millpond SP

 

We walked the trail from the campground to the visitor center.

0111_Merchants Millpond SP

 

We found these distinctive purple berries all over North Carolina, which are called beautyberries.

0112_Merchants Millpond SP

 

When we first arrived there were several people at the campground for the day, but by evening we were the only campers. There weren’t even any rangers. Kind of spooky spending the night alone in the swamp. I sat out by a fire and enjoyed the silence and dark solitude.

Early the next morning I took a 3 mile hike through the swamp.

0091_Merchants Millpond SP

0092_Merchants Millpond SP

0093_Merchants Millpond SP

0095_Merchants Millpond SP

 

Not all the trail was through swampy water.

0096_Merchants Millpond SP

 

Boardwalks were numerous and in good repair.

0098_Merchants Millpond SP

 

This twisted pine caught my eye.

0099_Merchants Millpond SP

 

There were primitive sites for back-country camping.

0101_Merchants Millpond SP

 

There were roads on which you could drive into the swamp.

0103_Merchants Millpond SP

 

The main attraction was the swamp itself.

0106_Merchants Millpond SP

0107_Merchants Millpond SP

0108_Merchants Millpond SP

0109_Merchants Millpond SP

 

Late that morning we packed up and left.

 

Next Location – North River

American Locations 4 – Occoneechee

The trip is from New River, West Virginia, to Stinking Creek, Tennessee, by way of Long Key, Florida.

 Occoneechee State Park, Virginia

 

The next morning we drove out of Babcock State Park heading southwest on Hwy. 41. It was another nice drive through the mountains, until we turned onto I-64, which we took a short ways southwest to I-77. Before getting onto the Interstate we stopped for breakfast at Biscuit World. I had seen this restaurant chain all over West Virginia and was curious to try it. They served strictly breakfast, and true to their name they had many different biscuit meals to choose from.

We drove south on I-77 out of West Virginia into Virginia. We exited east onto Hwy. 58 and had one of the most enjoyable drives of the trip. This two-lane blacktop road winds up and over and around and under rich open countryside of rolling hills and green pastures. A wonderful drive.

Eventually the road straightened as we came out of the hills onto flat plains of rich farmland. Leaving this rural area, we continued east through Danville and across the Roanoke River, where we turned south onto Rte. 364 into Occoneechee State Park. We got a site within view of the river.

0078_Occoneechee SP

 

After resting up from the drive, we walked down for a better look.

0079_Occoneechee SP

0081_Occoneechee SP

 

In this photo the Hwy. 58 bridge we’d crossed over the Roanoke River can be seen.

0083_Occoneechee SP

 

That night we had a clear sky over the river to enjoy.

0082_Occoneechee SP

 

The next morning we explored the grounds where a small plantation had once been, but there was not much left of it.

0084_Occoneechee SP

 

0086_Occoneechee SP

 

Before leaving, we drove by the marina.

0087_Occoneechee SP

 

Next Location – Merchant’s Millpond

 

American Locations 3 – Babcock 2

The trip is from New River, West Virginia, to Stinking Creek, Tennessee, by way of Long Key, Florida.

 Babcock State Park, West Virginia

 

On the second day I went on a 5-mile hike all over the park. I hiked up from the campground.

0057_Babcock SP

 

I found a pond.

0054_Babcock SP

 

I came across good overlooks such as this.

0056_Babcock SP

 

One part of the trail took me straight down the mountainside on steep stone steps.

0065_Babcock SP

0064_Babcock SP

 

Past an overhang where the trail had collapsed. You can see part of a railing on the ground.

0067_Babcock SP

 

So I had to scramble across on my own. The trail became a goat track across the face of a cliff.

0069_Babcock SP

 

I descended to the creek I had hiked along with my wife the day before, which led back to the campground.

0074_Babcock SP

 

Where I crashed at my site for the rest of the day and relaxed with a camp fire that evening.

 

Next Location – Occoneechee