Journey to Peaks of Otters Campsite
Trip Start Sep 15, 2011
6Trip End Sep 22, 2011
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Where I stayed
Peaks of Otters Campground
What I did
Traveling to the Campsite
I say "should have required 3 hours" based on Google and our GPS recommending that we exit I-81 at Virginia route 43 and take 43 into the park. Unfortunately, as I took the exit, I was greeted with two pieces of information. The name for Route 43 is called something like, "Narrow Windy Impassible Road". The sign posted just before the point of no return stated “RVs and Trucks must not take Route 43 into the Blue Ridge Parkway. Steep hills and sharp curves will cause you to become stuck and a Skorsky Skycrane Helicopter will be required to airlift your vehicle out at great expense to you”.
This piece of information required a slight detour requiring us to go 20 miles further south to the Roanoke entrance and then backtrack north to our campsite
The Blue Ridge Parkway begins where Skyline Drive ends. The northern most point of the Parkway is milepost 0 which is at milepost 105 of Skyline Drive. We had never ventured very farther south than Skyline Drive. This was our first adventure down the Blue Ridge Parkway which itself is over 460 miles ending at the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.
The Peaks of Otter is formed by three mountains positioned in a triangular pattern. A beautiful mountain lake rests at the triangle's center. The Blue Ridge Parkway passes through mountain passes and intersects with Virginia highway 43 at mile marker 85.9. The Appalachian Trail passes only a few miles to the North. It is reported that this wilderness area is truly one of the Blue Ridge Mountain's best-kept secrets.
There are at least 3 “official” definitions of how this area got its name. I prefer to think it was named after the river otters that inhabit the area and swim in the lake.
My plan was to experience two methods of the overall RV experience. The National Park campsite provided the “boondocking” experience
The generator is called the “WhisperQuite 4000” or something like that. I do believe that it got that name because all the campers around you will be Whispering about you and how noisy your damn generator is. Luckily, campsites have “no generator” sections, primitive sections and then RV beastoids who run their generator sections. Theoretically, this means everyhone around you expects you to run your generator. No running of the on-board generator during “quite hours” which are stated as 8pm-6am. However, custom appears to more like nightfall – which was sooner and more like 8am in the morning.
These more primitive campsites run $19/night and also provide a bathroom with cold and cold running water. No lights, so midnight runs require a lantern.
I fire up the grill while Casey is gathering firewood for the nighttime entertainment. A great steak dinner and relaxing evening in the deep woods.