Flights of Fancy

We will, overriding our former determination to never again leave the ground, fly off in the not too distant future, to a somewhat far-off landscape that is not the mountains.

I will have  window -seat neck pain, of course, and this time, Walter Mitty, famous world explorer, will have something like the tool of his dreams in his sweaty little hands: the iphone app called Flyover Country.

This Mapping App Makes Flying Way More Fun | Outside Online

I’m lead to believe that it is not all it might someday become. I had thought, and I was wrong, that you could plug in your flight number and departure and arrival destinations and it would have that route ready to explore with some precision.

While the path between traveled points is less precise than that, I still look forward to using this app in trips locally by car, since it gathers points of geographical or geological or paleontological interest. And that scratches where I itch.

For giggles, I tapped our home location and then Roanoke. And it gave me points of interest that, while they were not located with any precision along that straight line, nevertheless offered to show me a number of worthwhile places I’d like to know about. Here are two:

Maggoty Gap: about five mile south of Roanoke. Wikipedia has this to say:

“Maggoty Gap” describes a natural gateway of the Great Wagon Road (locally known as The Carolina Road) that made it possible for wagons and livestock traffic to pass through the Blue Ridge Mountains at Roanoke, Virginia near Maggoty Creek (now called Maggodee Creek).[2] It carried enormous amounts of traffic in the late 18th century and much of the 19th century until a railroad was extended over the ridge in 1892. During the years from 1760 to 1776 it was said to be the heaviest traveled road in all of America.

The other point I’ve found in my first five minutes exploring via Flyover Country this morning is Chestnut Creek Wetlands Natural Area Preserve.

This is a 244-acre (99 ha) Natural Area Preserve located in Floyd County, Virginia over near Willis. It is accessible to visitors only with prior arrangements with a state-employed land steward. I just might want to do this someday.

And from the Chestnut Ridge site, I clicked the coordinates in the map sidebar image and was taken to GeoHack. OMG. The day is spoken for. Maps heaven.

GeoHack – Chestnut Creek Wetlands Natural Area Preserve

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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