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Moon Rises

Taken near Seneca Rock in West Virginia, this photograph shows the changing leaves below a high, bald ridge. The moon rises behind, appearing like a ball bouncing on the horizon. While camping in Gandy Run, we discovered a truly wild and wonderful landscape. This area is known as the Spruce Knob Seneca Rocks Recreational Area.

 

 

The nearby Secena Rocks formation is a spectacular sight to see. A tall jagged rock formation plunges skyward against the backdrop of a wide river. Tiny climbers can be seen scaling the rock face, dwarfed by it's enormous size. On this visit, the fall leaves were exploding with fall color.

This rural area of West Virginia is truly beautiful. Spotted with family owned farms, the wide vistas exhibit rolling hillsides contrasted with high, sheer cliffs. Being that the nearest town, Elkins, is 40 miles away, one must rely upon the local stores. These often are former homes decorated with stuff animals, a wide selection of bait and typical soda and candy offerings. We were welcomed in like neighbors, even with out of state plates.

 

A steel framed walk bridge spanning a flowing river.

 

This is part of the charm of West Virginia. Just a couple of hours outside of the northern Virginia area is a life that is slower, more personable and without typical suburban stress. Inside of the Spruce Knob area lies something known as dispersed camping. Made available by the national Forest Service, strings basic campsites can be found along Gandy Run in Tucker, WV. These unserviced camping sites are set in thick forest are adjacent to a wide river. Finding this place was a stroke of luck, as we never found our intended destination.

 

 

Waking in a camper without heat with temperatures in the low 20's was not the best part of the trip. Hiking the area and eating by the fire was. There's nothing like a rustic weekend with friends and photography.

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Appalachian Trail in Fall

Hiking along the Appalachian Trail in fall often produces wonderful photography. Couple the hike with a rocky foreground and sunlight streaking the sky with brilliant rays and you have the makings of a pleasant Virginia afternoon. This photograph also shows distant pastures spotted with sunlight that managed to slip through the heavy clouds on this day.

This western facing overview is located near the Blackburn hikers hostel in Loudoun County, Virginia. After reaching the mountain top above the cabin, this particular spot can be found about one mile north along the Trail. Due to the ever changing weather along the Blue Ridge Mountains, this view is subject to change every few minutes. Often the sky here is filled with soaring Turkey Vultures, which are always a pleasure to watch.

Being a lover of beautiful landscapes, this photographer visits here often. I've come to appreciate the few generous views that the northern Virginia mountains offer. Both sides of the ridge tend to be covered with thick, young trees that hinder such terrific views.

 A rocky overlook along the Appalachian Trail in Clarke County, VA.

 

As the locals know, Loudoun County, Virginia has been inundated with stink bugs over the last year. The rocks and boulders in the foreground were covered with these insects on this day. It was difficult to simply walk on them without crushing one of these small, smelly creatures. As a photographer, I strive to leave a location untouched, including the sparing of bugs. I won't pick the vegetation, tear down branches or change the living environment to suit my photography needs. I will, however, move something around to get  better shot.

The Blackburn cabin offers through hikers a place to stay for the night as they journey along the east coast. Aside from the main lodge, this hostel also features several small cabins and a place for tent camping. On a clear day, visitors are treated to views of the Washington Monument from the front lawn. This is also a fine place to simply sit in a chair and ponder.

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