Monday, November 4, 2013

Wanderlust : Hillsville, VA 10.30.13 - 11.2.13 - Day 1 Hiking

It's no secret to anyone who knows us that Craig and I would take the cooler weather and mountainous air over the beach and hotness any day. It also shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that we love to travel, so when my dad invited us to visit him in Virginia we couldn't pass it up.  Let me back up and explain the whole ordeal.

My parents live in Fairhope, AL and until recently, had some of my siblings still living at home.  Roughly two years ago, my dad's company shut down the facility he was working in and offered him to keep his job - in Virginia.  At the time, my brothers were still in high school and my parents felt that moving them was unfair. Unfortunately that left only one option - my dad moved to Virginia while his family stayed in Alabama.  He gets to come home every six weeks or so, but of course that is far from ideal.

Over the years, I kept wishing him home to Alabama - until we visited him last week.  Now I think we should all move to Virginia. My mom, the sun worshipper, doesn't agree. She will come around.

We stayed in Hillsville, VA {population : ~2,000 according to a local that manned the historic gift shop} from Wednesday to Saturday of last week.  We took advantage of every opportunity to hike, explore, and even participate in the town's Halloween Festival. I can't tell you how much Craig and I felt at peace there. I must have remarked about a million and a half times how amazing and gorgeous everything was.  Apparently we were there at just the right time for the changing leaves.  I haven't seen such vibrant colors in nature, well, ever.

The first morning that we were there, my dad went to work while we rested from the drive. He had told us, on several occasions over the years, about a trail that he liked to walk so when Craig and I woke up we decided to explore the Beaver Dam Trail before he got home. The first thing we saw?  A pile of leaves!

 Please forgive the focus. My poor lens is in need of repair and I had a heck of a time trying to focus it manually. 

When exploring a new place, I try my hardest to put Craig in situations where I embarrass him.  Case in point?  This "pile" of leaves was right beside a city building, complete with drivers leaving the building and waving at us. Pssshhh - tourists.  Don't care.

I think this is probably a good time to mention that I couldn't stop taking pictures of everything. We can't stop. We won't stop. Everywhere I turned I saw more and more beauty. We don't have a true fall season in Florida so everything was an oddity for me and I was soaking it in.  The hike probably took us twice as long as it should have because I kept stopping to get it just right and I am pretty sure I heard a little grumbling from my travelling companion, but he insisted that all was good.  Probably because he didn't want to sleep on the floor.  Smart man.


For such a small town, there were so many ingenious uses of space.  Take the "labyrinth" below. There wasn't enough room for a walking track, but instead of scrapping that idea, they created one that looped around itself so that you could get your exercise in while taking in the gorgeous view.  Bonus points for the bench in the center so you can rest before walking back out.


We found several of these purple vines, or Hillsville Graffiti as I liked to call it.  My theory is that those meddling Hillsville teenagers came out with paint brushes and painted a few of these in each location we visited. Trail markers or just a special stem? I will let you be the judge.

This photo is dedicated to my neighbor. She is incapacitated at the moment, but still managed to threaten me if I didn't get any photos of myself on this trip.  Sonia, you are welcome.  :)

Bollard down!  We have a bollard down! Never forget...

Funny thing about this photo.  By the time we made it to this tree, I had completely filled my 8GB card, and hadn't brought another since it was only one hike. I frantically deleted a couple of photos I knew weren't any good (too dark or too light) so I could get this one shot. So glad I did.

I will return tomorrow with more adventures in the lovers' state. Virginia, I mean, not... Anyway, you can't wait, I know.


  1. Your photos capture the autumn colours so beautifully! :)

    1. Thank you so much Erica! I was definitely trying to show it as beautiful as it really was. I didn't quite get it, but you would have to see it in person to really appreciate it I think.