I was traveling back to my home on Naked Mountain last Tuesday after 24 hours of soaking, drenching rainfall as well as a hailstorm that left piles of icy pellets here and there. The rain was still coming down as I started up my 2.4 mile long road. The road was a mess — gullied as deeply as ten inches in many places and with numerous sizable puddles in low spots. But I kept on. As I started up the steepest portion, I was a little unnerved by a torrent of water coming down the left side of the road, so I erred on the side of caution and steered the car closer to the right side of the road. I failed to see a large, dark log we had
carefully positioned there during our road work last fall. (See November 13, 2012 post.) I hit it pretty hard and came to a crunching halt. I got out to assess the damage and could see right away that the car could not be driven. The right front wheel was pushed against the back of the structure that houses the whole wheel casing. I gathered up essentials in the car – twenty pounds of just bought groceries and a few other items – into sturdy bags and hiked three quarters of a mile straight uphill to my house. Once I had put away the food, I called my insurance company and put a rescue in motion for the next day.
The worst thing about the accident was missing a hike down into the barrens to see the Shooting Stars in peak bloom – 10,000 of them! I had to cancel a visit planned for Friday with Lara Gastinger, lead artist for the recently published Flora of Virginia, who wanted to see the Shooting Star show. Too bad!
The car was towed to Charlottesville the next morning and I drove a rental car to Arlington, Virginia to spend time with a friend while the car is being repaired. It will take two weeks. By the time I get back to Naked Mountain, the Shooting Stars will be done.
One positive note was this: I wait anxiously every spring for the return of two nesting pairs
of Cerulean Warblers from their wintering grounds in South America. Cerulean Warblers are listed as a species of concern by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because of lost habitat in the U.S. and on their wintering grounds. As I walked down the mountain to meet up with the tow truck, I heard Cerulean Warblers singing in two different spots. They are back from South America! It is extremely gratifying to be able to offer these beautiful creatures good habitat that is protected, in perpetuity, under Naked Mountain’s conservation easement held by the Division of Natural Heritage within the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. You can read more about Cerulean Warblers here.