Friday, June 27, 2008

My Last Day At School

"My Last Day At School"
Click Photo To Enlarge

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Celebrating 75 Years of the CCC

Former Supt. Gary Everhardt and David Barlow

Former BRP Superintendent Dan Brown

Gary Everhardt
Dr. Harley Jolley
Linda Brown

Representative Ray Rapp presents
The Order of The Long Leaf Pine

President FDR introduces the four CCC members

On Thursday, June 19th, I attended a wonderful event at the Claxton Farm in Weaverville, NC to recognize 4 Civilian Conservation Corps members for their contributions with the building of the Blue Ridge Parkay and to celebrate the release of Harley Jolley's new book "The Magnificant Army of Youth and Peace" In addition, Dr. Jolley and all persons present were treated to a visit by President FDR. Conversations were had relative to the work done by the CCC members as well as the book.
Shortly after discussing the book and the contributions of the CCC, Representative Ray Rapp presented Dr. Harley Jolley with the "Order of the Long Leaf Pine" The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, created in 1965, is the highest civilian honor that can be granted in the U.S. state of North Carolina. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is among the most prestigious awards presented by the Governor of North Carolina. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is presented to individuals who have a proven record of extraordinary service to the state.
In addition to the presentation of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, Dan Lundsford the President of Mars Hill College spoke about Dr. Jolley and time spent in his class. Also, a lovely artwork was presented to Dr. Jolley which was a view from Waterrock Knob. Finally, Patrick Flaherty of the Blue Ridge Parkway shared a song titled "Cutting Rock and Building Trail (The CCC Boys)" with all present.
Many supporters of the Parkway were present. The event was organized by the BRP Foundation and its Executive Director Houck M. Medford. Many members of the Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway were present, as well as a good number of the Blue Ridge Parkway Employees and Alumni Association. Also present were Gary Everhardt and Dan Brown - former Superintendents of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

To view this story in the Asheville Citizen Times Click Here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tim Pegram's Book

"The Blue Ridge Parkway By Foot - A Park Ranger's Memoir"
By Tim Pegram

As skillfully as early landscape architects planned the Blue Ridge Parkway to "lie lightly upon the land," author Tim Pegram has crafted a delightful journey in words to pay tribute to his years as a National Park Service park ranger and his endeavor to be the first person to through-hike the linear park's 469 miles. I don't know when I have enjoyed a book more! I have chosen to read, and reread, it at a leisurely pace, much like Pegram's 41-day walk, or a relaxed drive along the Parkway. That way, I can stop at all the overlooks, savor each person, place, view, milepost, story, and insight, and look forward to what lies around the next bend, on the next page. Written in a personable, engaging style, this book is sure to become a treasured favorite of everyone who loves the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Kathryn Brett review on

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The "Big Idea"

It had been nearly 30 years since I left the Blue Ridge Parkway for a career in Public Education when I noticed an article in the Salisbury Post about a retired Park Ranger who was Backpacking the Parkway. This was a feat that had never been done before. As I read the article, I noticed that it was Tim Pegram, my colleague from 1974 and 1975. We had worked as Seasonal Interpretive Park Rangers at the Museum of NC Minerals at Gillespie Gap Mile Post 331.3 near Spruce Pine, NC.

Tim recently published his book "The Blue Ridge Parkway By Foot" A Park Rangers Memoir. His wonderful book weaves the magic of the Parkway and its people, its places, and its history with stories of his career as a Protection Ranger in several of the Districts that he worked in.
Immediately after I turned in my retirement papers I called Tim to let him know that I planned on repeating his Thru Hike on the Parkway. What a great way to "Bookend a Career teaching Geology and Astronomy in High School and College.

The next question was - How could I make it different?

Tim suggested that I add ~10 miles to the walk by starting at Jarman Gap in Shenandoah National Park and that way I would have backpacked the original Blue Ridge Parkway Section 1A - the first section completed. This section had been deeded over to Shenandoah Nat. Park in 1961. Next, I would continue onto the current Blue Ridge Parkway at Rockfish Gap at Milepost 0 and would then only have 469 more miles to go to arrive in Cherokee, NC.

There are definite ground rules that I have established for this experience. They are listed below.

1. Make myself very visible - People driving cars do not expect to see a backpacker on a curvy roadway. Flourescent Green and Orange and retroreflective I will be.
2. No overnight stays in Motels, Hotels, or Lodges.
3. No Fires.
4. Keep a neat appearance. I am not homeless - my home for these 40 days is just a long and winding road.
5. No Firearms. They are illegal on the Parkway.
6. I will carry a Cell Phone but it is for a weekly check in only.
7. Resupplys will take place in Roanoke, I-77, Boone- Blowing Rock area, and Asheville.

I really want to make this event unique. I am trying right now to decide how to best use this event to raise funds to dig wells in underdeveloped countries through an organization like World Vision. Since I am a Captain in the Fire Service and involved in Urban Search and Rescue, I am also looking into the possibility of using a particular brand of boots for later promotion.

More to come later. I need to go and finish packing. I'll bet you can't tell how excited I am.

Dave Barlow