Monday, September 6, 2010

Pinnacle Natural Area Preserve

To celebrate our 28th Anniversary, June and I went hiking in the Pinnacle Natural Area Preserve in Southwest Virginia.  Located near the confluence of the Clinch River and Big Cedar Creek, the area gets it's name from the impressive rock formation that towers above Big Cedar Creek. Cut from dolomite, the Pinnacle rises 400 feet above Big Cedar Creek.

September is not really wildflower season in SW Virginia, but there were many late blooming flowers including a lot of thistle.   We were treated to dozens of butterflies that seemed intent on checking out every bloom, never stopping long enough for me to get a decent picture.   You can see in this photo one of the two was still moving.

One thing we noticed that we had not seen before is that the butterfly's body has the same iridescent blue pattern as the wings.  If your click on the photo to zoom in you will be able to see for yourself.

There was not much water in Big Cedar Creek but what was there made great reflections of the late afternoon light.   It made the creek look like a river of gold.   A great excuse to sit on the rocks beside the creek and enjoy God's creations.

We hiked up to the top of Copper Ridge but the views that day we're much to write home about.   I can imagine it could be fantastic at sunrise or sunset.

One of the landmarks along Big Cedar Creek is Big Falls, which is not more than a few feet high.  It is however very wide.   The low water level made Big Falls into lots of little falls stretching across the wide creek.  

Below is a pano of 6 individual photos stitched together.

If printed at high quality this would stretch 6 1/2 feet wide!

Our anniversary trip wouldn't be complete without a photo of the two of us standing in the creek in front of Big Falls.

We may not get back to the Pinnacle area this year but it may be a great place for wildflowers in the spring.  If you would like to check it out there is information available at the Virginia Dept. of Conservation and Recreation.

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