Drive to Hanging Rock (7-27-02)

Sam Chandler

Sam Chandler's white MGB in front, Ben Bailey's MGB, and Al Bradleys Austin-Healey.
Sam takes a poll about eating picnic lunches before or after the hike.

On Saturday, July 27, a hardy gang of ten members and guests assembled at the Duffield, Virginia Hardees for a drive to Hanging Rock Picnic Area near Dungannon, Virginia. Sam Chandler and Ricki Fields in a 79 MGB, Ben Bailey in his familiar Weber-powered MGB, Roger and Pat Boggs in a shiny red 93 XJ6 coupe, Al Bradley in his sparkling 1959 Austin Healey 3000, Herren and Otti Floyd in a Mercury Capri convertible, David Wallace in a Mazda Miata, and new member, Bill White, in a Ford Ranger pickup.

Ben Bailey and Herren Floyd inspect their Golden Age Passports which allow them to
pay only half of the $3 park fee. Otti Floyd (black hat) and Pat Boggs wait patiently.

The group backtracked south on US 23 about 4 miles to the Ft Blackmore exit, where the group got on Virginia route 72 for the 27-mile trip to the Hanging Rock Picnic Area. The route was idyllic in that pastoral sort of way, following the meanders of the Clinch River north, through the old farming and riverport communities of Fort Blackmore and Clinchport, before motoring through downtown Dungannon. Just outside of Dungannon, heading toward Coeburn, the road picks up a few more curves as you enter the Jefferson National Forest.

New member, Bill White, talks with Roger Boggs (standing next to his Jaguar XJS).

We shortly arrived at a wooded picnic area, deserted except for a stray puppy who tried to make fast friends with everyone. An impromptu vote was taken on whether to hike to Little Stoney Falls or eat our picnic lunches. We hiked. And hiked. And hiked some more. The trail to the Falls, usually rated an easy to moderate 2.8- mile jaunt, was a bit more of an ordeal as a result of spring flooding which had washed out portions of the trail. Upon reaching the upper Stoney Falls, a quick head count revealed 7 of us had made the distance. Herren Floyd even hiked down to the pool below the upper waterfall to get a photograph of a view that some of our members may never see and that he was quite sure that he would never see again.

Three S.O.B's (short for Something Other than British) bring up the rear:
Herren & Otti's Capri, David Wallace's Mazda Miata, and Bill White's Ford Ranger pickup.

Several of our group removed sox and shoes and waded the always cool waters of Little Stoney Creek. The trip back to the picnic area was mostly downhill, and was accomplished with quite a bit more alacrity than the hike up. After dining on our packed lunches, we departed for home, most of us with aching feet, sore backs, or some kind of ache. Our British and non-British cars certainly had a much easier time on this trip than the drivers. The Little Stoney Falls is a beautiful destination, and can actually be reached by a parking area above the Falls, accessible by a gravel forest road if you wish to hazard chinked paint or a busted oil hose. Our British cars are certainly grateful that our feet did most of the work on this drive.

Photographs by Al Bradley