Riding Out Election Day in a Mountain Campground

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A fairly large buck struts through the campground and down into the valley by the Appalachian Trail: Glynn Wilson

Secret Vistas –
By Glynn Wilson

BALDFACE ROCK OVERLOOK, Va. – It is election day all across America and the big question is whether the Republicans will take over control of the U.S. Senate.

But since I am not now living and working in Louisiana, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Arkansas or one of the other swing states where the key Senate races are being hotly contested — and since I’ve basically moved to Maryland, one of the most liberal states in the country — I am sitting this one out in a mountain campground.

By the time the 2016 presidential race heats up, however, I should be positioned to get in on coverage of that big story from the nation’s capital. By then I will know my way around Washington and the surrounding area, know where to camp for cheap and find power and Internet where I can work.

It has now been a little over a month and a half since I sold most of my possessions and moved into the camper van and headed for this part of the country. And I must say it has been one hell of an Autumn. One of the main reasons I headed in this direction was to escape the hot nights in the South, where global warming and climate change have made it an almost unbearable place to live in the spring, summer and even early fall.

Since crossing over into Virginia back in September, I have fallen asleep by a number of babbling brooks with a cool breeze in the mountain air. I have photographed birds, deer and even bear, along with all the Autumn color around Maryland and Virginia. The highlights of the trip so far have come in the great Shenandoah National Park, where I hope to one day soon occupy a long-term site with power as a camp host.

I can’t imagine a better way to live not just cheap but free in a national forest and yet still be less than a two hour drive to Washington, where I can be when big news breaks. In the Age of the Internet, it is not that difficult to cover a lot of stories emanating from the national government in D.C. without actually being in town. As long as you are in range of “the district,” as they like to call it up here, you can do what most reporters do anyway. Write stories based on e-mailed press releases from the federal agencies and engaged interest groups.

Hang on a minute while I grab the Nikon and get some shots of this big buck strutting through the campground (photo above)..

Last night we had a little excitement in Big Meadows. The wind picked up some leaves and blew them through a campfire in a site nearby and nearly started a forest fire. I got out and helped put it out.

Then when things quieted down, I let the dog out to pee one last time for the night. But before I could get the leash on him this same big buck came strolling by and the dog chased him down the hill into the woods. I called him and he came right back. But that’s the kind of excitement you face when you decide to live the camping life.

I have now made the circle around Washington from the Patapsco State Park to the north to Cedarville to the southeast, to Front Royal and Luray to the west. It is past Autumn peak up here now and the wind and storms over the past few days have blown many of the leaves off the trees and some have already started turning brown for the winter. So after coffee and breakfast I am going to head south to see if I can catch up with the color down toward Charlottesville, where I plan to finally take a tour of Thomas Jefferson’s farm, something I’ve never done before.

Hopefully my English Springer Spaniel Jefferson will enjoy the ride and we can get some good shots at the home of his namesake. We stopped by the Jefferson Memorial in Washington Saturday on a cold, cloudy and windy day and got some shots there. We will run an entire photo essay from this leg of the trip when we find a place to camp with power and Internet.

See you down the trail, or at least over the Net. Hope you got to vote today and that it makes a difference.

© 2014, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.