After determining the location of Hawksbill Church (which was named after a small river rather than the mountain peak) I headed back into Shenandoah National Park on November 3rd. Two days later (and as many very cold nights) I was at the southern terminus of Skyline Drive. The weather had been rather dreary and the color was gone from the few leaves remaining on the trees. But it was still a very pleasant drive. I didn't hike as much as I would have liked though because it was just too windy and too cold.
I wanted to get out of the mountains and back to the coast. But there were a few stops along the way and Mother Nature would have some say in the matter.
Two main stops were at the Walton's Mountain Museum in Schuyler, Virginia – hometown of Earl Hamner, Jr. and Appomattox Court House. Both sites were interesting in their own way. I was a fan of “The Waltons” from the time it first aired. The exhibits were informative and they had a lot of pictures. At Appomattox, I sat in on a chat with one of the volunteer Rangers and was reminded of bits that I had forgotten and learned a few new things as well. It was the highlight of my visit there.
For the next few days I stayed at two Virginia State Parks – Holliday Lake (near Appomattox) and Staunton River (near South Boston and about 25 miles from the North Carolina Border). On Monday (November 6th), I checked into a motel and learned that Tropical Storm Ida was due to go ashore near Mobile Bay. The wind and rain would be into the Carolinas the next day with the possiblity of 4-6” of rain. I had waited a bit too long before heading south, so I decided to go back north towards Richmond, partially to meet up with my friend TJ (who also happens to be a distant cousin) and then visit Williamsburg and Jamestown, eventually going down the coast of the Carolinas, specifically Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
But Ida changed directions and stalled out and, in the last two days, has dumped 6 inches of rain, more in some places, in southeastern Virginia! Currently (the morning of Friday the 13th) it is still windy in Richmond but the rain has pretty much stopped. Now is probably not the time to take the route I had initially planned so I'll be going back west, towards the mountains and then south, avoiding the flooded areas along the coast.