I spent the third week in April in North Carolina on my annual golf trip. This year, I drove down. From Michigan, the 14+ hour drive took me through Southeastern Ohio and its “Hocking Hills.” Unfortunately I was on a deadline and unable to stop, but could readily see that there are some great potential photographic opportunities there.
From Hocking Hills, through most of West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, the roadside forests were dotted with American Redbud trees in full purple bloom.
From Ohio, I traveled through the Western part of West Virginia. I had a plan to drive through part of the New River valley and to arrive there by “afternoon light.” The New River is a designated National River and part of the National Park System. I entered the park at Sandstone, West Virginia, where there is a NP Visitor Center.
I was in search of a couple of waterfalls. One of them I never found. The other–Sandstone Falls–is approached by a scenic turnoff on the Park Road. Sadly, the road was under construction (information not made available either on their website, or by the Park Personnel or posting in the visitor center!). The construction equipment was staged in and completely blocked out the turnoff for the scenic view of the falls (and the “postcard” shot I had seen in the visitor center). I’m glad I didn’t drive over just for photography in the park. To some extent, the drive through the New River National River area was a disappointment. I did find a wide spot in the road and was able to find a couple of scenic shots. Most of West Virginia is mountainous country and there are numerous parks and rivers and I am sure, some great photographic opportunities.
From Sandstone, I drove the park road (W VA 20) all the way through Pipestem, where Pipestem State Park and Resort is located, and Athens, where I eventually rejoined Interstate 77 and continued on to North Carolina. On the way is Bluestone Lake, which is a very wide spot in the New River with some pretty dramatic mountain backgrounds. Again, time did not allow thorough exploration. I did stop briefly at Pipestem Falls, a small, roadside waterfall, for a few minutes to add to my growing waterfall collection.
Last year, I joined Midwest Photography Enthusiasts Group, which has a section that covers W. Virginia and Western Pennsylvania. We have the luxury of having a professional photographer, teacher and workshop leader there and perhaps I will have to join up for one of his workshops to find out more about the W. VA photo ops.
Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY, TRAVEL | Tagged: American Redbud, Bluestone Lake, foliage, National Park, National River, Nature, New River, Pipestem Resort, Pipestem State Park, Redbud, Spring, Spring color, Spring foliage, water, waterfalls, West Virginia |