camera phone

Many trips to Mountain Lake

We've been up at Mountain Lake several times this year for different jobs and were just there again this past weekend. The last time we were up there it was Labor Day weekend--it was sunny and we were wearing shorts, sleeveless shirts and sweating a lot. What a difference a month and a couple thousand feet in elevation makes! At nearly 4,000 ft, the temperature up there was already like winter, and all the vegetation is well into the autumn season. Mountain Lake, formed 6,000 years ago, used to be a lake that covered 50 acres and one of only two natural lakes in Virginia. Due to natural occurrences, the lake has been slowly draining since the 90's and is now just a fraction of the size. A lot more info about the lake can be read here: http://www.virginiaplaces.org/watersheds/mountainlake.html

Reminders of a once full lake and the summer recreation that went along with it are still strewn about in what has now become a pretty gorgeous meadow--old paddle boats, canoes, docks--abandoned with hope that the water might return. But the meadow and new ecosystem that has sprung up in place of the lake is spectacular and lends itself to lots of exploration and general traipsing around.

We'll be posting more photos over the next week or so from our many trips to Mountain Lake from the last year.

Mountain Lake meadow at dusk

Mountain Lake meadow at dusk

Winter's dormancy and camera phones

We went to Brown Farm (a.k.a. Heritage Park) not too long ago, an open-space in town that provides nice walking paths, trails, and a place for Eastwood to run around and pee on all the things. Going out on short trips like this, I tend to forget or leave my camera at home and usually end up regretting it. Thank goodness for the continuing advancement of camera phones. Perhaps I shouldn't still be amazed...I mean, new astounding technology has just become the norm these days. But the camera on my phone has come to mostly replace our little Canon point-n-shoot, and is a fine fill-in for times just like these, when I notice the lovely things around me while on an afternoon walk. It's been an unusually warm winter for the most part here in the southwestern part of Virginia, but the landscape is still stark and quiet as it always is this time of the year, allowing us to really appreciate the contours of the land.