We are constantly scouring the Internet and searching for new places to visit. Surfing the net being what it is, we often stumble upon places that are relatively nearby and which seem exceedingly unique and, because of that character, exceedingly fragile and under threat. Because travel is becoming more and more expensive, we reserve one big trip far afield every year, and try to take several journeys far closer to home, but which are rewarding in natural beauty.
We've discovered some amazing places by seeking out the less known and lightly visited parks and rural areas. Also, because we feel that we're bound by time as we settle into middle age and the cancer of urban sprawl, we look to take these trips as often as we can.
Very high on our list is a rural discovery that we made online. In Tazewell County in the state of Virginia is a high mountain valley commonly referred to as "Burke's Garden". It is also known as "God's Thumbprint", due to its appearance when seen from high above. I have to say, it does indeed look to be the thumbprint of a gigantic deity making Her mark on the planet.
We're not sure if we're going to be able to see this part of the country in 2008, but it is on the radar and will likely be part of a multi-park swing through Virginia/West Virginia/Kentucky within the next twelve months.
I'll keep you posted when we finally do hit the area.
Chestnut Knob Shelter, one of the more unusual Appalachian Trail Shelters. Located high above Burke's Garden in Virginia.