Uncle Bob's Travels

Places I've hung out in or just neat postcards

Archive for the tag “Southwest Virginia”

Snow on the Mountain (Who Shot Sam?)

Sorry for the title…that reference to an old George Jones song just crept in.

This is up near the top of Powell Mountain on the Orbie Cantrell Highway (U.S. 23) on November 19.  The overlook is just behind me.  That’s snow blowing in over the mountain.  It wasn’t a significant snowfall, just flurries, but it was the first I’d seen this season.

Stinky springs

Well, it is stinky.  It smells like rotten eggs.  It’s a sulphur springs, once much valued for some sort of curative powers, and it’s just across Hunters Valley East Road from the famous Hagan Hall.  The coordinates are roughly 36.82487, -82.53216.

Out of Skagg’s Hole tunnel

In southwest Virginia, Skagg’s Hole tunnel is on the CSX line coming down from Elkhorn City.  This is looking north at the trestle crossing the Russell Fork River.  The trestle comes 11′ into the tunnel itself.  Just to the right and 30′ down, there’s a wide, deep point in the river.  I think this feature is the actual “Skagg’s Hole”.

Pennington Gap VA

Another Southwest Virginia town that went down with the coal business.  It was a lively place in the day, according to a person I know who lived there then.  There’s not much on it in the wiki.  Here’s a little more information:

This sign stands near where the old train depot was located, along with an ice house and some other buildings.  Just to the north of this sign was a 6-story hotel that was the place to stay.  It burned in the 70s, I’m told.  Here’s a look at the downtown:



Laurel Bed Lake

Laurel Bed Lake, in Russell County VA:

The earthen dam (at 36.954461, -81.813218), off in the distance here (you’ll get to see it closeup just in a minute), was piled up 1967 to create a 330-acre lake at around 3540′ above sea level.  We got here by coming through Saltville on 813 up to Allison Gap and following the road to a right turn on 747.  This devolves into a more-or-less one-lane gravel road (note: as of early August, 2012, a new bridge on this road was about halfway completed) that seemingly goes on FOREVER until you glance over and, ha!, the lake.  There are no direction signs in the area around the lake, but it you turn left and go over a well-made bridge over a creek, you’ll either hit a boat ramp area, or you’ll get to the dam.   Here’s the dam, by the way:

Google Earth shows the water is higher than the dam, for some reason.  That annoys me, but nothing is perfect.
The Sunday we were there, I counted five fishermen.  That’s one fisherman for every 66 acres of lake.  Here, a man or woman can stretch out when fishing.

Here’s looking at you, lake, from the dam.  It’s a peaceful place. Until more people and their unwanted trash come to visit.  The people leave, the trash stays.

Uncle Bob starts a new blog

I don’t travel far and I don’t travel wide(ly), but my buddy and I have traversed a lot of landscape in Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and, to a lesser degree, Western North Carolina.  I take a lot of pictures, since my main interests are railroad tunnels and bridges.  I’ve also documented many of the places I’ve been.  This blog is here to share those.
First up: Grassy Trail Bald (or Grassy Ridge Bald) on the Roan Massif.  You park at Carver Gap, then walk up to Round Bald, then past Engine Gap (once, long ago, there was a machine here that hoisted timber that was efficiently clear cut on Tennessee side of the mountain over to the North Carolina side for processing) and up to Jane Bald.  You’ll see the Appalachian Trail here, but veer off and head up to Grassy Trail Bald.  6100′ up and on a reasonably clear day, the view is terrific.  I love that place.

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