"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Friday, May 12, 2017

Blue ridge Parkway and Floyd, VA

If you have been finding some of my posts that are published and are a mess, Blogger and I are having issues. Hopefully, I can quit hitting enter when I shouldn't.
We had a change in plans making our drive of 50 miles in 3 hours. The pollen has been very high after all of the rain. I woke up and realized I needed to get some medical help as we left Fries. Galax had an urgent care that fixed me up with a shot in the hip of steroids. We headed on to the CVS Pharmacy in Hillsville for the prescription. The drive to Daddy Rabbit's Campground was on narrow winding roads. The Blue Ridge Parkway campground hadn't opened yet.
The tourist season doesn't start until Memorial weekend. We were the only people in the campground that had  no internet. We are finding that Sprint's 1% less coverage than Verizon has been in most of the places we have been visiting. We do get a certain amount of roaming on our plan. Even when we go over that amount, the amount of roaming we use isn't as expensive as the extra $100 we are saving with Sprint.
Blue Ridge Parkway, Rocky Knob Trail

We woke to heavy rain but got ready to hit the Blue Ridge Parkway and do some hiking. We chose the Rock Knob Trail which was 3 miles. We thought a short loop was a good plan with the sprinkles and potential for the return of the heavy rain.
The clouds in the valleys were eerie at times.
Mabry's Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Mabry Mill was originally constructed in 1905 and was in operation by 1908 and was used by many in the region who brought their corn to be ground.
The mill had a lack of water power, earning it a reputation as a "slow mill," but because of this, the mill would not grind too fast or scorch the corn, which resulted in the Mabry's mill being known for producing some of the finest tasting corn meal in the region.
Ed would eventually construct a sawmill and woodworking shop alongside the grist mill, and a number of the tools he used in the shop were powered by the waterwheel. He would also go on to build a nearby blacksmith shop.
The mill still stands as a unique symbol of the region's heritage and has attracted visitors from around the world.

Used to haul logs

Kettle to make soap


Floyd, VA

The Floyd Country Store is renowned as a place to experience authentic Appalachian music, and is home to a group of musicians, flatfoot dancers, and cloggers who are carrying on the tradition of their families who’d pass the time playing music and dancing together. Everywhere they could these folks would gather with their friends and families from their front porch to the neighbor’s kitchen. In the 1980’s Folks in Floyd took to coming out to the General Store and began the Friday Night Jamboree tradition that continues today.

Over the years the store has played a central role in the Floyd community, as a supplier of all kinds of merchandise, and as a community meeting place where folks would gather round the wood stove to exchange stories and the local gossip. In the early 1980’s, when it was known as Cockerham’s General Store, it took on another role. Two of the store’s former owners were in a local bluegrass band that gathered at the store most every Friday night for a practice session. People passing by would knock on the doors, asking to be let inside so they could better hear the music.

My picture of the musicians was blurred but picture people singing and playing while we shared a slice of apple pie.
Pretty soon, the band got tired of being interrupted every few minutes to let someone else in the store, and so they just left the doors open. As the crowds grew, other musicians came to join the fun. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Rock Castle Gorge Trail
The camp host had suggested this hike on CCC Camp Lane and gave us good directions. It turned out that this trail was the lower section of part of the trail we had done on the previous day but in the valley.

  We had hiked the upper trail the previous day and walked the lower section with a climbing hill for 5.5 miles round trip. I like the downhill on the way home. We did each find a tick on our long sleeved shirts even with Off on us. That just gives me the willies.

The Magnolia Trees were blossoming.

Old homestead chimney along Rock Creek Trail


Austin House beside Rock Castle Creek.

We have run across several of these black snakes (some people call them rat snakes) since we were in Mississippi. This time we got a picture. Yuk!

You have to love a place called Tuggle's Gap

Swallowtail butterflies were flying all around us as we walked. 
Floyd and the Blue Ridge Parkway were both treats for us. We weren't far from the city of Roanoke but felt a million miles away.


  1. Enjoyed your pics and the find of the area you were in. We are thinking of heading through the Appalachian Mountain area and up Blue Ridge. Thanks for your share.

  2. I would checkout Chantilly Farm Campground in Floyd or the national forest rather than Daddy Rabbit. It was a pleasure to visit the area.

  3. Floyd has been on our list for a couple of years. Can anyone join in and play, or is it just locals? The hiking looks great (even in the rain) and the wildflowers are gorgeous. I'm even happy seeing snakes on the trail (just not rattlers) but ticks....not so good. You must have had a really bad allergic reaction to the pollen!

  4. You have to check whether it is a jam or entertainment. There are different venues different days in the valley. Checkout the Rex Theater also in Galax. The camp owner was a great reference. As the season gets in gear there is more music. I haven't been sick in a couple of years. I could just tell it wasn't going to get better without help.

  5. Oh how beautiful that area is!
    I would ewallly enjoy Mabry Mill. The windmill is so neat.
    What a great trail. Is that a lizard? I never saw an orange one.

    1. He is a newt or type of salamander. They were all over the trail in the rain. We enjoyed the Mill very much and wanted to try the breakfast out at the restaurant there but passed.

  6. Very pretty area you are in and sounds like Mabry was really industrious.

    1. It is amazing how industrious some of those people were. I think they had big families and lots of "help".