The World I’m Studying

This blog is about the world I’m studying: the world in which I perceive myself to live. Not an imaginary world but, on the other hand, not the “world as it is” – whatever that would mean.

The little library list and the blog list are picked to describe the contour of this world as concisely and precisely as possible. However, given that this world is wrinkled deep in time and also very much in the present, it will take time and many postings for me to explain that contour, hopefully without giving in too much to a fancy for magic realism.

I used to live in the Appalachian Mountains, in the New River Valley of Virginia, about which Sherpa Guides writes:

The North and South forks of the river converge on the Ashe and Alleghany county line in North Carolina, just south of Grayson County, Virginia. The river flows into Virginia near a tiny community called Mouth of Wilson, a southern gateway to some of Virginia’s most spectacular mountain scenery in Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and Grayson Highlands State Park. The ancient New then begins its extraordinary 160-mile journey through Virginia and into West Virginia.

As it flows north, the river alternates between wild forests and languid farmlands. In keeping with the habit of rivers, the New follows a scenic path seldom seen by travelers on highways and byways. In passing through the Blue Ridge Mountains, it picks up New River Trail State Park, which follows it from Fries at the Grayson-Carroll county line north to the backwaters of Claytor Lake.

Claytor Dam, south of Interstate 81 and Radford, temporarily holds back the river while the Appalachian Power Company harnesses its energy. Then the New meanders north on the second half of its passage through Virginia, slips under Interstate 81, and forges through several mountain ranges of the Valley and Ridge province.

The river adds its beauty to the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, squeezing between Walker and Sinking Creek mountains at the corner of Giles, Pulaski, and Montgomery counties. The New cools the feet of hikers on the Appalachian Trail west of Pearisburg, passes through a gap called the Narrows, and hails Peters Mountain Wilderness to the northeast as it leaves the state in the western tip of Giles County.

While we live in Radford now, MaryAlice grew up on a farm on the side of Peters Mountain and we still have property there (where we lived before our children started school), just a bit west of the Peters Mountain Wilderness area.

Politically, the New River Valley Planning District members include: the Counties of Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, and Pulaski; the City of Radford; the Towns of Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Floyd, Narrows, Pearisburg, Pulaski, and Rich Creek; and Radford University and Virginia Tech. However, geographically the New River Valley region also includes Grayson, Wythe and Carroll counties (in the Mount Rogers Planning District) and it is that more expansive region to which I will mostly refer, sometimes with the acronym: NRV.
Appalachian stream

A nice dayhike which I’ll document more: take Clendenin Rd to Pocahantas Rd, go 1.3 miles to trailhead (pictures in Facebook album, then hike across (going across Kimbellton Branch creek after about 90 minutes) and up to top of Peters Mountain ridge and connect with the Appalachian Trail at Symms Gap Meadow and then continue, on Appalachian trail east until you get to intersection with Groundhog trail down into WV at Sugar Camp Farm, (see article for info on Groundhog Trail). It’s about 4 hours from Pocahantas Road trailhead to intersection, another 2 miles down to Sugar Camp Farm.

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