Wednesday, December 21, 2011

16 October 2011 Peaks of Otter and Home

This is the Buchanan Swinging Bridge. It has an interesting place in history. The large stone pilings from the bridge date back to the early 1850's and were built to support a covered toll bridge over the James River. During the Civil War the covered bridge was burned by by a Confederate General in an attempt to stop the advances of Union General David Hunter. Besides burning the wooden bridge, many of the buildings in the town of Buchanan were also burned as flames spread from the fire.

After the Civil War had ended, the bridge was rebuilt and lost again to a flood. A railroad built yet a third bridge across the James using these same pilings. That covered bridge eventually gave way to a steel bridge which eventually was taken down and replaced in 1938 with this really outstanding pedestrian suspension bridge. This is a big bridge with a long span and some major bounce. It rates a 10 on the fun scale.

I hoped we had a chance to return to Peaks of Otter for another climb to the top. Our first visit here was in February of 1997. It was incredibly cold when we were here that year, but the area was beautiful and we had the Blue Ridge to ourselves. It was a lot more crowded today on a perfect fall afternoon.

This was a really nice, old Dodge Power Wagon. I think it is a '46 or '47. It was sitting in the parking lot at a gas station convenience store when we stopped for refreshments. This is one supremely large and intimidating vehicle.

The Way-Back Machine travels back to February 1997 for the images below of us at the Sharp Top Peak. I can't begin to think of how high my fever must have been on this hike. I just remember how cold (in the '20's) and windy it was with a great view after wheezing all the way to the peak. A couple days later I was feeling better, and we were in Richmond with some wonderful 70 degree weather. The view this year was just as super, but the weather was a wee bit nicer.

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