Started as a public works project during the depression, Skyline drive stretches over a hundred miles across the Blue Ridge Mountains in western Virginia. This is the only road I know that was built for the pure pleasure of driving - and a pure pleasure it is. The road winds back and forth between the North West and South East sides of the ridge so one is afforded fabulous vistas from both sides. Although there are many short stone walls to keep the traffic away from the sometimes steep slopes, there are plenty of places to pull off the road to admire the view.
|A lovely place for a drive.|
|When deep in the forest, always look up.|
What I failed to consider is that the first portion of the drive was in deep shadow so it didn't make for the best images. On the other hand, in that early hour there were few other vehicles so I had the road mostly to myself.
|Rolling landscape beneath a darkening sky.|
As the day progressed, more and more tourists appeared on the road. There were a few photography clubs traveling around in vans. The photographers would explode out, laden with gear, and dash about trying to get as many unique photos as possible before piling back into the van and dashing off to the next scenic spot. It may sound like a Keystone Cops scene, but the equipment they were using, and the unusual angles they were shooting, demonstrated that these folks knew what they were doing.
|A scruffy looking pine tree clings to the hillside.|
|Looking down into the valley.|
|An animator gazes out the window.|
|Photographers try to sneak up on the colorful foliage.|
I'd been on Skyline Drive a few times as a kid, but I can remember nothing more than the feel of the road winding through the peaks and woods. Not a single memory came back to me as I drove along in either direction.
Driving back from the park, I spotted a most archetypal scene. This stately drive leads to a farm. It was a perfect visual dessert for day.
You can see the full size images here.