Friday, June 17, 2022

Explore: Blue Ridge Tunnel Trail

One of our recent excursions took us to the Blue Ridge Tunnel Trail. We chose the Afton entrance.

I packed our lunch and we headed over.

There were slight misgivings when we reached the parking lot only to discover there were (1) no picnic tables and (2) no modern bathrooms and (3) the porta potties were perched right on the edge of the parking lot.

We ate standing outside the van, fashioning our sandwiches on the running board and trying to be as far NOT downwind of the porta potties as possible.

Then we cleaned up our lunch, I grabbed a bag of snacks, and we headed down the trail.


There were wild black raspberries growing on the side of the trail, as well as vetch and viper's bugloss.

In the distance, there was a vocal cow making the sort of vehement protests I imagine she makes when her calf has just come in from a wet pasture and carelessly skipped across the freshly mopped floor. "Do you hear that goose?" asked Rosie (3), with wide eyes.

"That is a cow," said Ethan.

"No, that is a goose. Gooses honk. That is a goose," she said with a knowing nod. All of her nods are knowing, and there is no convincing her ever that she may be incorrect about something.

Rosie with Mimi and Lily

As we neared the entrance to the tunnel, various children ran ahead. Flashlight beams inundated and then dissipated as the children set off in twos and threes.

River (5), while the others forge ahead

It took about twenty minutes to walk all the way through the tunnel. (Well, on average. Some of the children were MUCH faster and had to wait for those of us following certain young ones who talked the entire time to hear the echoes and had to be reminded repeatedly to "keep walking, please.")

We were not a quiet group.

When we reached the other side, we gathered just outside the tunnel and split candy necklaces and sour gummies.

Then we headed back. 

River (5) and Gideon (12). I have no idea what she is doing here.

Ada (10) and Salem (12)

Edee (15) and Eve (7)

Mimi (17) and Lily (18)

Gideon and River

I was pleasantly surprised by the family's reaction to the walk. Several of the older girls stopped to take pictures of the trailside flowers, the older boys chauffeured those who wanted to race ahead, and the Littles vacillated between (i) being dramatic about how tired their legs were and about how so many rocks were in their shoes, which precipitated their being piggy-backed and (ii) demanding put me down right now! at which point they would race ahead three steps, stand stock still, say something loudly to hear the echo, and notice rocks in their shoes.

The tunnel was cool, the outside air was hot, and when we got home we unpacked the picnic bags and crashed in assorted positions around the house.



  1. Haven't been on here in years, Rachel. Love seeing your beautiful family! Love to you & Ethan. :)

  2. Realized my previous comment came up as Anonymous. It's Kathy Scarbro...:)


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