My base of operations for this year’s birthday romp was Abingdon, Virginia.
First up was Clinch River State Park, newly elevated to state park status and therefore a little lean on amenities. The lazy river doesn’t mind.
Best critter for the entire trip was a Lace-winged Roadside-Skipper (Amblyscirtes aesculapius) just a bit outside its range in the guidebooks, nectaring on Bear’s Foot (Smallanthus uvedalia).
Rain mid-day curtailed plans to hit another state park, but later in the afternoon I walked a bit of the Virginia Creeper Trail, one of the first rails-to-trails conversions. This trail crosses numerous stream gorges via wooden trestles—quite dramatic. The watershed here is the Holston.
This view down into Berry Creek is from trestle #3. From trestle #4 in Watauga you’re eye level with the top of a substantial American Sycamore.