Ever since I was in undergrad at Virginia Tech, I’ve always wanted to fly into the Blacksburg airport. I finally made that happen this past weekend. The flight plan was to leave Columbus on Friday morning and fly southeast to Richmond Virginia (KOFP) where my old college friend Matt lives. Pick up Matt in Richmond and fly to Blacksburg. If everything went according to plan, we would be in Blacksburg by Friday at about 3pm.
Things didn’t go as planned.
Despite clear blue skies for practically the entire month, THIS weekend, my entire route was overcast with low cloud covered ceilings.
The picture on the right shows my route on the way out of Columbus. The ceiling is not uncomfortably low here in the city, but as I approach the Appalachians it gets worse.
I like to see quarries and mines from the air. It’s always interesting. Especially seeing a mining operation from such a height that you can see how small it is in the scope of the land around it. It’s reassuring that when you think that one of these places is a huge polluter or destroyer of the earth, that you can see that it is instead just a tiny blip in an enormous swath of untapped land. The planet is simply humongous. The mining operation on the left is the Buckingham Coal Mine a little south of Corning, Ohio.
Just a little to the southeast is Burr Oak State Park. Besides quarries and mines, rivers and bodies of water are my next favorite subject to photograph. This makes me want to get my float plane certification.
After this, I was off to West Virginia!
West Virginia is beautiful but that Friday, the cloud cover was very low. 4,000 feet was generous and the mountains were going up to 5,200 feet in places. I passed by a couple towns after crossing the Ohio River: Crystal Lake (left) and West Union in the picture just under that. Then, after getting over some of the smaller foothills and one of the first or second line of major ridges, I got blocked in by clouds and couldn’t go any further.
There was no choice but to land at a local airport and wait out the overcast skies. You don’t want to cross these ridges without visibility. Here I am stuck in Elkins, West Virginia waiting out the clouds: