JeffPo's Grayson Highlands Page

Last update:  09/19/01

Every now and then I'll take a trip up to Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia for some star gazing.  It is just across the border from northwestern corner of North Carolina.  Sometimes the skies cooperate and sometimes they don't.  No matter what the weather, we always seem to have a good time.  Below you will find some images from the area and things that we do up there.

I don't think I've made a trip yet to Grayson Highlands in which I didn't hear barred owls calling at night.  They make beautiful sounds and it sometimes sounds eerie as it echos through the mountains.  The wave file below is their typical call.  I recorded it during my last camping trip (Summer 2001).

Barred Owl call (59K .wav file)

From May 2001 trip:

The gangHere's the family posing for the camera (picture taken by automatic timer).

Observing fieldHere's the field that we use for observing.  You're looking toward the southwest.  They have recently put up a volleyball net (that you can see in the image) and a swingset in the field.  Great for the kids, but it does take up some area that we could set up the scopes in.  Still a very functional observing field though.

Vistor center viewHere's the view from an overlook area near the visitor's center.

From the topHere's the family at one the peaks (there are two).  This is a very easy and relatively short walk from the visitor center.

Lynn at the topHere's a shot of Lynn.  I hiked down the rocks a bit to do a little exploring.

Tree on rockHere's an image of an interesting tree.  Yep, it's on top of a large boulder.  It's kind of weird, isn't it?  One wonders how the tree managed to grow on top and actually grow the roots down and over the rock.  Maybe the rock grew under the tree!  I hope this tree isn't experiencing what we feel when we have a pebble in our shoes.

Grayson poniesHere's some of the ponies that run wild at Grayson Highlands.  Well, though they have their run of the place, they are basically tame because of all the people that visit the park.  We looked and looked for these ponies.  We saw chipmunks, deer, and turkeys, but no ponies.  On our last day, on the way back to camp to pack up, we finally came upon this group.

Grayson poniesHere's the youngster of the group!  :)

Close to the Grayson poniesWe didn't really know what to expect.  I took the kids over to get a better look, and the ponies approached us.  At first, the kids climb on top of me more quickly than a cat going up a tree.  But once we realized that the ponies weren't velociraptors or anything, we all relaxed.

Pop-up camperHere's my Coleman pop-up camper.  It sure is a lot better than camping in a tent!  It's one of the best purchases I've made.

Sitting around the campfire #1 Sitting around the campfire #2Here's the family sitting around the campfire.  This was from a trip during the summer of 2000.

fernHere's a shot of the many ferns growing around Grayson.

flowersHere's some of the beautiful orange flowers at Grayson.  Don't know what they are.

deersSee the deer hiding in the woods?

rabbitHere's a tiny baby bunny that almost escaped my notice.

chipmunkHere's a little chipmunk that played cat and mouse with me through a hole in a boulder.  I snapped this image, then wanted to get a better shot from above.  So I climbed onto the rock, with camera to eye, and stayed perfectly still. I knew he had nowhere to go so I figured if I were patient enough, I'd get a good shot.  But the little chipmunk must have known I was there because he would never come completely out.  I'd see his nose and whiskers twitching away, right at the edge.  Then he would dash back down the hole.  This went on for quite a while.  I was really getting tired and cramped, while squatting on that rock.  After a while, when I hadn't seen the little critter for some time, I leaned over the edge to see how far down the hole went. To my surprise, I saw daylight at the other end because the hole went all the way through the rock!  Then I turned around to find the chipmunk sitting right behind me on the same rock!  Of course he was laughing like crazy and scurried back under the rock.  I got the last laugh though.  Looking down the hole, I could see the chipmunk sitting on the ground, at the other end.  I dropped a tiny rock down the hole which was delivered with the accuracy of our finest airplane bombers.

Jonathan on the trailHere's a shot of Jonathan along a nature trail.  Summer of 2000.

tree with red barkHere's an image of a tree with a brilliant, coppery red bark.  It was very pretty and the picture really doesn't quite do it justice.

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