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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Bike Virginia's Creeper Trail



On the Virginia Creeper Trail/photo by Patricia Leslie

It may look like a roadway, but four-wheeled monsters are prohibited on the Virginia Creeper Trail which runs almost 35 miles from Whitetop Mountain   through Damascus to Abingdon in the southwestern part of the state. 

Historical markers enlighten riders about the Virginia Creeper Trail. Thomas Jefferson's father, Peter Jefferson (1708-1757), surveyed the area/photo by Patricia Leslie

It's open to bikers, hikers, and horseback riders, and just about five hours from D.C. Well worth the trip down Interstate 81 for exercise, beauty, solitude, and just plain fun!

It begins in either Abingdon (2,000 feet ascent) or Damascus where riders may board a shuttle (laden with bicycles) for a 30- to 45-minute trip to the top of Whitetop Mountain, Virginia's second tallest mountain after Mount Rogers.  (Damascus has all the bicycles and fixuns' ready to rent or take your own.)  

At Whitetop, riders begin the easy 17-mile ride down and around the mountain to Damascus, or continue to Abingdon for a total of 35 miles. (Simple to Damascus, even for grandmas like me!)
On the Virginia Creeper Trail.  Some people (athletic in nature) ride UP the trail, like dumb fools.  They are all thin, and it is true:  I am jealous/photo by Patricia Leslie

The trail hugs Virginia's southwestern boundary which separates the state from North Carolina and Tennessee. From a certain point, the shuttle driver said, you can see all three states! 

It was a hot, muggy day in the lower elevations in the towns, but not for us! We felt only cool breezes emanating from the path strewn with wood chips and some rocks. No sweat!  Of course, you can ride in cooler times, too, but fall months are the most popular ("Lookit those leaves!") and often sell-out, so make reservations now

Whatever, it's the best!
What's this?  Van Gogh on the Creeper Trail?  Nope.  He died in 1890 or he might have been here. It's just, just (!) another typical scene found along the trail filled with all things Mother Nature. What artificial beauty could be lovelier? (The building materials came from Mother Woods.)/photo by Patricia Leslie
Christmas trees (in the distance, not those weeds) grow along a stretch of the Virginia Creeper Trail.  Buy a Carolina Fraser fir!  No fragrance like it to match the beauty, sounds, and scenery of a North Carolina mountain top.  (Hey, we're in Virginia, not North Carolina!)/photo by Patricia Leslie
A free museum (with seasonal hours) provides a bit of local yore at Greencove Station (with rest rooms) on the Virginia Creeper Trail /photo by Patricia Leslie
Home sweet home on the Virginia Creeper Trail/photo by Patricia Leslie
Who needs helmets on the Virginia Creeper Trail?  Not these young'uns/photo by Patricia Leslie
Children ride with abandon near a crossing of the Appalachian Trail on the Virginia Creeper Trail/photo by Patricia Leslie
The Appalachian Trail crosses the Virginia Creeper Trail at least three times/photo by Patricia Leslie
Time out to wave "hallo" on the Virginia Creeper Trail/photo by Patricia Leslie
Take a break and listen to the water rush on the Whitetop Laurel River which runs alongside the Virginia Creeper Trail/photo by Patricia Leslie
A naturalist pointed out beavers at work on the Virginia Creeper Trail/photo by Patricia Leslie
Bike racks aplenty stand ready to house your vehicle while your party stops for a bite to eat on the trail. (Said the guy in red:  "I wish I had that bike.")/photo by Patricia Leslie
On the Virginia Creeper Trail/photo by Patricia Leslie
You see what I mean about tree canopies? On the Virginia Creeper Trail/photo by Patricia Leslie
Stop and admire the scenery on the Virginia Creeper Trail/photo by Patricia Leslie
Is that kudzu on the Virginia Creeper Trail?/photo by Patricia Leslie
Finish your trip in Damascus with a great big pitcher of margueritas at Hey, Joe's! I'll drink to that!/photo by Patricia Leslie


The people are grateful to the U.S. Forest Service, the cities of Damascus and Abingdon, and property owners who maintain the trail and let us use it. Thanks be to all!

Wikipedia has some history on the trail, but the name is never explained on any of the websites I found.  
It creeps along the states' borders?  
It creeps along the river?  
It creeps where rails used to roam.  
Sounds like the title of a song or poem to me.  

Van Gogh in Damascus?  Novel, anyone?

patricialesli@gmail.com 

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