Saturday, June 14, 2014

Natural Tunnel State Park

The Grunwald's camping adventure weekend begins! This morning after breakfast we packed up the car with all of our camping gear and headed north through Kingsport into Virginia. Our first stop was Natural Tunnel State Park. We pulled into the parking lot near the visitor center and relaxed in the shade
Parker resting in shade
as we ate a snack to prepare for our walk on a few short trails. Sierra was excited by a train right in the parking lot.
Train
We walked over to it to have a look.
Mommy and Sierra on Train
Then we got out the back pack for our hike.

The first trail we hiked led to a nice overlook of the tunnel.
Noelle and Parker
The natural tunnel
natural Tunnel
(Really a cave) is over 800 feet long and naturally carved out of limestone by carbonic acid water. From the short overlook trail we hiked a short trail over to Lover's Leap. There is, of course, a legend of forbidden love between Native Americans that leads to a tragic leap off the tall precipice here. We admired the nice view
Lovers Leap
Noelle at Lovers Leap
and then returned to the parking area, passing a few flowers in bloom.
flowers
From the parking area we found the trail that led down into the gorge, past an unnatural tunnel,
unnatural tunnel
and to the opening of the Natural Tunnel.
tunnel entrance
A railroad actually uses the tunnel for freight traffic and so there are railroad tracks passing through it. Obviously, with trains moving through the tunnel, it is not possible to walk inside of it. We admired the large, impressive entrance and then headed over to the Carter Cabin.

The Carter Cabin was built in the 1700s and moved to its current site in 1997. We had a passerby take a family photo there,
family at cabin
relaxed a bit,
Sierra talking
and then headed back up out of the gorge. The trail was steep, but not too long. Parker was the only one who seemed to have trouble with the ascent (he's getting old). Our hike was certainly better than taking the chairlift. After arriving back at the car we headed over to the picnic ground and playground for a snack and a little play time. Then it was on to the campground for Sierra's first camping experience!            

1 comment:

luksky said...

How exciting for Sierra. We just got back from a camping trip!!