Few Masks, Lots of Beauty in Botetourt

Even in the deep woods (in front of the Roaring Run furnace), a mask is a good idea.

I’m not sure if I should have been surprised at the crowd, but there it was in remote Botetourt County at 10 a.m. and I wasn’t in church. This was Roaring Run, a sweet hike in the middle of nowhere, and the parking lot was full and growing by the minute.

Kids found the Roaring Run rock irresistible.

Of course, I had the only face mask in the crowd, but that wasn’t surprising. I think a lot of Americans believe the COVID19 pandemic is over and it’s back to normal. That, of course, is the attitude that will kill many more of us as we approach 2 million cases of what is right now an incurable virus. 110,000 of us have died, but yesterday there was not a single sign of concern.

Maybe they are right. But if they aren’t …

The creek winds up the gorge.

On the way home, I stopped at the newly-open Goodwill store in Daleville, just to scope it out, then Kroger to pick up some supplies. Few masks, even though Goodwill had a sign on the front door saying people not wearing a mask should not enter. I didn’t buy anything, but it looked like GWLtd had been crowded all day and its abundant stock was dwindling. Back to normal, I guess.

The hike itself was as it always is at Roaring Run: breathtaking and churchy. It is easy to feel spiritual in these surroundings and those of us who live here, I think, understand just how fortunate we are.

This is supposed to be a view of Roaring Run from an overlook. Not so much.
The beagle wasn’t interested in a swim. The people were.
Recent heavy rain brought down a lot of trees.
This sign used to be up on the right side of the waterfall at Roaring Run. It is now about 1/4 of a mile downstream.
I have rarely seen such crowds at the falls.
I can’t get tired of this view.
Here’s what they came to see.
Looking downstream from just under the falls, where I was sitting.
Somebody just had to get his feet into the 54-degrees water. And it was lovely.


Rocks have built up a lot of color from funguses, but who cares why? It’s mighty pretty.
Here’s the furnace again (it made charcoal which melted iron) without me blocking the view.

By admin

Dan Smith is an award-winning journalist in Roanoke, Va., and a member of the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame. He is an author, photographer, essayist, father and grandfather. Co-founder of Valley Business FRONT magazine and founder of the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference. On Advisory Board of New River Voice.

Leave a Reply