Finally: A Hike at Explore Park

This is the alive roof of one of the old cabins.

This is Fearless Freddie, the abandoned tire frog.

It is truly odd that until a couple of hours ago, I had never hiked any of the many trails at Explore Park in Roanoke County. I know the history of the park well and even played a part in it. I was there before it opened and on Opening Day (I still have the commemorative mug). I knew some of the Living History employees and watched the old buildings being put into place. But  hike the property? Nope.

This is the old grist mill on the property.

My friend Susan called at 0:dark:30 this morning and put an end to that oversight. We have taken to celebrating holidays that happen on Sunday or are religious in nature by communing with the spiritual side of ourselves in the most pristine church of all: The Church of Perpetual Sunshine and Babbling Brooks. It is a spiritual experience, unencumbered by human frailty.

Today, that church was in Roanoke County at a park that was initially intended to honor explorers Lewis and Clark, then changed its mission to a kind of outdoors Disneyland and now has ambitions to call us all to it as a recreational site where we actually get exercise. Good for the County.

This was a day when we both covered up, despite the 80-degree temperatures and right off the bat, I picked a tick off Susan, even as I was spraying her. Those babies are everywhere and they are serious.

Here is some of what we saw today. Go see it for yourself and it’s a free hike.

Susan’s study of the mill wheel.

This is the mechanism that turns the grist mill wheel.

Susan photographing the mill wheel.

Susan all wrapped up against the ticks.

That’s me at the spiritual alter of my own faith.

Look closely at the sunbursts through the back-lit leaves.

Somebody had a good time. You can tell by the starbursts.


The old mill is glorious in black and white.

Susan found me in the crease of this cabin.

Sometimes it’s about the smallest things, glowing in the light.

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