Vacation 2018 Continues...and what is Harry Potter doing in here?
We rolled out of Marion on US-11 headed North. The road north was paved but quaint, small farms and local industry flanked the path. I missed a curve in the road, heading straight instead of left, had to reverse and take a hard left turn. With the wheels at full lock to the left a loud vibration echoed through the Jeep. Upon inspection, the upper sway bar link on the passenger side had lost its nut and was no longer attached to the sway bar. Luckily, the link did not puncture the tire (credit to the sidewall on the Cooper Discoverer STT Pros!) and the bolt was still threaded through the bushing. Unable to find a spare nut within easy reach in the Jeep, zip ties and a spare cotter pin had to make do.
The temporary repair in place, we got back on the road deciding to bypass the next technical section in favor of making it to camp and attempting a more durable fix. Despite the bypass, we still managed to find ourselves on a forest service road, Wyrick Trail, and some of the best views of the trip.
Wyrick Trail mirrored the Appalachian Trail at a slightly higher elevation until they intersected at the Brushy Mountain Outpost (which, being a Sunday evening, was unfortunately closed). As the Wyrick Trail steadily increased in elevation, the views to the northwest of the valley below continued to break through the trees until we reached the highest point on the trail.
Once over the summit and descending back down we ran into the only other vehicle on the Wyrick Trail, a VA Dept of Games and Fisheries rig, which kindly hugged the upside of the trail. It's hard to tell from the pictures, but the trail dropped off on the downside just a few feet from the dirt. We chatted for a few minutes and found out we were a couple hours drive by forest service roads from the campsite I was hoping to reach. We pressed on to the end of the trail...
The Wyrick Trail ends at the Brushy Mountain Outpost in Bland. Needing gas and a campsite for the night we veered off the MABDR and took a shorter route to the closest camp, which just happened to be back on the MABDR, but probably 2 hours quicker. We ended up at the Walnut Flats Campground, a short hike from the Falls of Dismal.
Camp was made, walking tacos for dinner (a taco style Jackson learned in day camp), and owls were spotted! The owls became part of a new adventure for the boys, one which I blatantly stole from Haloepinoy on Expedition Portal (link here) and his Lord of the Rings inspired journey.
That night Harry Potter sent a message to the boys by way of the owls we saw earlier that evening...
My dearest friends Jackson and Harrison,
I need your help desperately. I have been captured by Voldemort and I need your help to get away. I have hidden 3 items for each of you to aid in my rescue: A cloak of invisibility, a bracelet to protect you from fire, and a wand to help me defeat Voldemort. I left some items for your mommy and daddy to help too.
Good luck in your adventure, I await your assistance.
Your dear friend,
To Be Continued!!!