Ft. Hamby CG, Goose Point CG
Departure day, Wednesday, April 28, left Leslie, Annie, and Karen & Steve at Lake Powhatan, while the remainder of us scattered—some to homes, some to further campgrounds.
John & Mary and we took a leisurely drive (~2 hours) to Ft. Hamby Campground, another lakeside campground just outside of Wilkesboro, NC (near Mt. Airy). It was a pretty Corps of Engineers place along W. Kerr Scott Reservoir (not to be confused with Kerr Lake near Clarksville, VA). We set up in site #5, without a water view, and J&M were uphill from us in (possibly?) #7. The bathhouse was nearby, clean, and communal.
As with many of our travel days, we ate an easy meal around J&M’s campfire and hit the hay.
On Thursday, April 29 Jack and I took a 50-minute cycle, doing the 2.5-mile paved roads once and the (longer) gravel, pavilion, and group camping areas once for a total of about 7 miles. There was lots of climbing involved, so it turned out to be a good workout. J&M drove down to the boat launch area and took the kayaks out.
Drove into Wilkesboro for provisions (from a Lowes Foods that was quite nice) and Jack communicated with his eye surgeon about his upcoming cataract surgeries, starting with the right eye on May 12. As the day warmed into the 80s, we lounged about in the shade and cooked a pork loin and fresh corn on the cob on the grill, and J&M brought potatoes to share.
Friday, April 30 was an exercise day like the one before with us riding the loops and roads and J&M kayaking in the lake.
Additionally, I walked the Bushwacker Falls Trail, along the water’s edge and then up a feeder creek, which was a down-and-back of not quite 2 miles. The evening held a visit from John’s cousin Rachel who lives in Boones Mill, and we joined them at their site to meet her and share Mary’s spaghetti & salad dinner with them.
We left Ft. Hamby early on Saturday, May 1, letting our house sitter, John, know we were returning earlier than we’d expected, and we threw the ball for mischief a while, and exchanged some things in the trailer for our next, appended, adventure—a friend who was unable to use her reservation gifted it to us, so we left home after a breakfast of locally-grown fresh eggs and bacon, on Sunday, May 2 at about 2P. After feeding up the falcon and packing up all the dogs’ gear (and the dogs) we got to Philpott Lake’s Goose Point Campground about 45 minutes later. Site #6 was right above the beach, with no site (other than the picnic pavilion and beach area) to the east side. The BBB that had used the site before us was still in place, so we parked in the overflow parking area next to the amphitheater, and took a short hike along the water’s edge to let the dogs stretch their legs.
The site was wide enough that we could angle the trailer so our back was mostly to the road, and it was nicely shaded. In addition, we were able to receive 2-3 bars of Verizon LTE everywhere in the loop.
On the downside, the wind off the water was positively howling, so we chose not to set up the awning. Managing our gear with no awning and the forecast rain was a bit of a challenge, but we arranged everything, and then Jack turned around and drove back home.
His two appointments for the day (a paperwork/pre-op for the surgery, and getting a Covid-19 test prior to his surgery) were scheduled for Monday, May 3, so he trundled back home to rest up before being poked, prodded, and paperworked. My evening amounted to eating a salad, walking the dogs and going to bed early with my book.
As expected, the rains arrived at 5A, and I buttoned up the trailer and stayed in bed a few hours Monday, May 3. The winds had calmed considerably, however, and the rain actually had let up as dawn approached, so I decided to wrestle the awning up by myself. Not a bad job, even if I did say so myself.
While it rained off-and-on most of the day, the dogs and I took hike/walks when the downpour wasn’t too terrible.
Still, the interior moisture from towels, clothes, and doggie fur prompted me to turn on the AC to help dry things out. I took one long hike solo, so I could really stretch my legs without having to stop every time the dogs wanted to sniff something, and had an interesting encounter with a box turtle.
I’m one of those who will get out of a car to move a turtle out of the road in the direction it was headed to prevent accidental deaths. So when I took my brisk (mostly) uphill walk between rain showers and saw a box turtle in the road, I moved it toward a very steep, long bank on the left as I moved up the paved hill toward the unserviced (tent) camping loop.
I watched until it began moving forward again, taking the steep incline at an angle that I felt would be do-able, if a long trek upwards, but certainly what the tortoise had in mind and/or expected (apparently they are creatures of habit in their prowlings). My policy in dealing with turtles in the road is to get them off the pavement, pointed their chosen direction, and leave them be—assuming they know their minds and direction and will carry on moving in a direction away from the dangers of the roadways.
I was on my return march, after circling the first camping loop and the unserviced loop (going both clockwise and counter-clockwise for more exercise time) then back down on the paved road headed back to the lakeside loop. Pausing to see if I could actually see my well-camouflaged tortoise, I peered along the face of the bank and upward to the flat at the top without luck. Nothing seemed to be moving, so I figured the turtle had made it to the brushy verge on its way to some destination known only to itself.
Suddenly, movement caught my eye, and the turtle was pinwheeling back down the steep embankment, head tucked but all four legs stretched out (I assumed) in an effort to grab anything that might stop its speedy, edge-wise roll downward.
At the bottom of the embankment yet further toward the (uphill) entry gate than before, it came to rest at the ditch between the pavement and the bank. With a little effort, it righted itself and began the long climb back up.
This certainly would not do. So I picked it up and carried it up the embankment to the region about where I’d first spotted the pinwheeling movement, then got it over the incline’s lip and onto the narrow flat.
I monitored its progress as the rain began again, until the turtle had made it into the brushy verge separating the path-and-bank from the (empty) camping loop.
Including the box turtle adventure, my hike took ~40 minutes and I covered just over 2 miles—AND I got pretty thoroughly wet. Jack’s day of appointments went well, and he got back to camp around 5P, having left John on deck to feed Flash (the falcon) in our absence. I fixed us an easy pasta and salad dinner, and we turned in with the back (windward) window open so we could close it without getting out of bed if necessary, but the rains appeared to have stopped for good and we slept well.
We awoke on Tuesday, May 4 to the call of loons on the lake, and later saw some floating and diving.
Drove up to the paved road that connects Goose Point to Fairystone, which is a trek of about 2 miles (one way) and is a very nice and hilly trek (mostly downhill outbound, thus mostly uphill on the return). We walked with the dogs from barricade to barricade (no cars are allowed on the road) in a bit over an hour to get about 4 miles under our belts. The mountain laurel was just beginning to bloom.
Having had such a good experience hiking on that barricaded road, we set off on Wednesday, May 5 (Happy Cinco de Mayo) to explore some of the “wildlife management areas” that are part of the larger rec area around Philpott. I had had some luck a few years ago, taking my hawk into such areas to chase squirrels, and had found some unpaved but well-articulated roadways/service roads, and we hoped to find the same in these areas near Goose Point.
Alas, any “roads” we found were short, petering out into meadow-like areas intended for wildlife feeding. Saw a couple of turkeys in the high grasses, but were wary of potential tick infestations, so did not venture far into the first area.
The second sported a mown area around the edge of such a pasture/feeding area, and we walked around the high grass to this view, which was nice.
Returned to the campground without much of a hike under our belts, so I left the dogs and Jack at the site and I powered around the home loop until I saw this beauty sitting in the middle of the pavement:
I used a stick to move it off the pavement (it was at the top of a curve and I thought it would be squashed by a car) and I hoped it would not head into a campsite but go to the shore of the lake. But I didn’t see it again on my second loop.
Lots of holiday-makers set up picnics and swimming activities along what we thought of as our “front yard” between our elevated site and the edge of the designated beach/swimming area. Our next-door neighbors had moored a canoe just outside of the swimming area, in their own “front yard” so we thought it a bit rude to have folks between us and our site when the entire swimming/beach area, with lawn and pavilion only lightly used by others.
But the end of the school year approaches and families too long cooped up in their homes due to Covid-19 certainly need some recreation and relaxation, so who can argue?
Our final sunset on this spring adventure was one for the books, and we returned home on Thursday, May 6, just a short hop up the mountain and back to summer chores and mowing.
Until next time!