Friday, July 25, 2014

Ghost parks

Mary and I hiked down from the Blue Ridge Parkway to Crabtree Falls today.  Good hike, lovely falls.  Up near the Parkway there were port-a-potties, but the visitor's center was closed.  Meanwhile, the camping sites -- conveniently next to individual parking spaces and with little level platforms to pitch your tent comfortably -- were all seemingly derelict, as was an "amphitheater" used for god knows what back in the day.  There was a "store" back up there by the parking lot which presumably used to sell stuff to people at the 100-odd camping sites that now sit empty.  Hard to figure if it was ever feasible business-wise.  A water fountain down down near the trail head no longer worked.

It's hard to figure if one should be sad about all this decay.  On the one hand, it's nicer to see things not falling apart, once money has been spent on them.  On the other hand, is a modest decline in car camping really such a bad thing?  Are people actually being more rugged and camping out in the woods?

Not in these woods, I don't think.

In any case, I know I ain't no camper.

Up on Roan Mountain the day before, the visitor's center was also closed.  Maybe because it was a weekday, or is this reflective of a general de-funding of the National Parks?  Hard to say.

They had surely spent some money sending a bunch of heavy-set lads up on the balds of the roan to rev up some weed-eaters and keep the bald closest to the road nice and bald.  I can't help but think it would be better for all concerned if they'd shut off those 2-stroke engines and give those dudes some freaking scythes.  It would be much quieter, much gentler on the air, and those fellas would get some much-needed exercise.  Have them all read the chapter from Anna Karenina in which Levin learns to mow with a scythe from the peasants so they could catch the groove.

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