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New River Trail and Salem

March 9, 2013

Virginia – Sunday, March 3

I woke up to see a dusting of snow on the van and everything else. This is the first snow of the journey (other than the snow in Ohio after leaving New England during Hurricane Sandy). But it’s only a little, and I just bundled up a bit more and set out for New River State Park, which is Virginia’s longest and skinniest state park – in places it’s not much wider than the old railroad tracks and their right-of-way. I backtracked a little to get there, and Tula and I headed out for a 6+ mile walk along the river. Some of the trail was bumpy frozen mud, and walking into the wind made the beginning of the walk a bit chilly. This would probably have been a very messy walk if it hadn’t been so cold. But the morning warmed up, and it ended up being a good walk. I was at the Foster Falls section of the park, and there were a few old buildings left from the original town, and it looks like it has quite a variety of activities in the summer, with a storage shed full of canoes, a livery for horses and a big campground.

As long as I had backtracked a bit, I went a little farther back to get on the Blue Ridge Parkway for a while. It may not be the prettiest time of the year, but I still wanted to drive on the parkway. On the way, I stopped for gas, and there was a BBQ trailer by the road, and the timing was perfect for a local sandwich. There was even a version of a drive-thru with a bread crate and a plastic cup for money and string for the crate to be reeled in! It accomplished what it needed to! I headed up to the access point for the Blue Ridge Parkway, only to find it unexpectedly barricaded with no explanation. The little bit of snow was gone, and it had become a clear day, and the people at the gas station just figured the closing was because of the little bit of snow last night, and more snow to come this week. That was a bit of a disappointment, but I headed north a different way and ended up in Salem, which had been my destination anyway.

I had read up on donation possibilities in the Salem area, and liked what I read about the Salem Food Pantry. They have a variety of programs that they help with, and I was interested in Snack Buddies, where they help provide school snacks for kids in pre-school through 5th grade if their parents are unable to send snacks with them. Last year they helped kids in 20 elementary schools and 19 pre-schools. They weren’t open on a Sunday evening of course, so I wrote a little note to include with a check, and it will have to be a mail-in donation.

Salem was a great town for walking – an interesting downtown area, and then some good neighborhoods to walk in, along with some nice mountain views. And Roanokoe College was there too, and that was another pretty campus to walk through. I ended up walking nearly 4 more miles, giving me almost 11 for today. But I’m happy to be stockpiling a few miles in case the expected storm during mid-week is worse than predicted. I drove just a little farther to Roanoke, where I called it a day.
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