Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Reporting from Hungry Mother State Park in ToRnADo Alley

Thursday through Saturday
Hungry Mother State Park

Back on the road again.
Whoo Hoo!
Here’s Winnona leaving the farm
which of course
has a brand new furnace

And leaving our hidden valley....

We pulled into the Hungry Mother State Park
outside of Marion Virginia
on Thursday late afternoon
and got set up in Site #3 in Campground B.

No reservations necessary at this time of year. 
But it was getting dark when we went to choose a site
and we didn’t notice
the one spot left on the creek
until the next morning
when we went to register. 

Not worth it to move we decided.
So we’re a row back from the water
but still plenty close.
It’s one of the most beautiful state parks in Virginia
but sure has a sad sounding name.

Legend (Mind you I said LEGEND) has it
that when the Native Americans destroyed several
settlements on the New River south of the park,
Molly Marley and her small child were among the survivors
taken to the raiders’ base north of the park.
They eventually escaped,
wandering through the wilderness eating berries.
Molly finally collapsed, and her child wandered down a creek
until the child found help.
The only words the child could utter were
"Hungry Mother."
The search party arrived at the foot of the mountain
where Molly collapsed to find the child's mother dead.
Today that mountain is Molly’s Knob,
and the stream is Hungry Mother Creek.

Much of the land for Hungry Mother
was donated by local landowners
to develop a new state park in Smyth County
on Hungry Mother Creek.
The park is one of six original
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)
parks in Virginia that opened in June 1936.
The log buildings and stone work are just wonderful.

We’re having fabulous luck with the weather. 
It didn’t start raining until after dark on Thursday.

On Friday we got out for a hike in the morning
on the Stone Lick Trail
before the rain started again.
Unfortunately I didn’t bring my camera
and David took only pictures of the lichen and mosses
he saw on the ground. 
You can let me know if you want to see those.  

Just after we got back
and were getting ready to prepare breakfast for lunch J, 
it began to rain again.  
Once we'd eaten, David decided
he probably should finish the taxes
so he wouldn’t have it hanging over his head at the rally.

The rain  stopped after an hour or so
but he was deep in it by then
so I took a hike up to the lodge
which was also built in the 30’s
by the Civilian Conservation Corps and sleeps 15. 
Great for a week-end with friends around the huge stone fireplace
or perhaps a smallish family reunion.
Then I walked  around CCC Cabin Road

to Cabin #4
where we had stayed several times in the past
with our daughter and a friend she brought with her.
Rain started again after dark and although weather.com
says rain all day today, we haven’t seen any. 
Cloudy but the temperature is perfect. 

We went for a 4.5 mile run around most of the 6 mile Lake Trail
this morning and walked the rest. 
Another beautiful hike!
There were quite a few wildflowers just beginning to bloom
spring beauty, trillium, black cohash,
rue anemone, spice bush and others
Sadly, I have no pictures of those since I
 don’t run with a camera. 
I did go back to the
trail’s end/beginning and get
shots of the trail head and the end of our walk out.

We’ve loved being here and wish we could have stayed at
least ten days so we could do one trail a day AND
have time to kayak in the lake.
But the rally beckons.

I have 3 favorite State Parks in Virginia.   
1st is False Cape. 
Right on the ocean
but only available to backpackers
It is actually very nice to be in a park
with NO motor vehicles at all.

The 2nd two, Hungry Mother and First Landing ,
I would recommend for RVs
although I don’t think either park takes rigs over 35’.
This was a serious consideration for us
in choosing our Winnebago Brave. 
She’s big enough
for us to live in
but small enough
to go to the National and State Parks we love. 
Check these parks out when you are in Virginia.
Even if you can’t camp there, they are great to visit.

But if you are 35’ or less, I cannot recommend
camping at Hungry Mother highly enough to you.  
$25 a night for water and electric in a gorgeous setting. 
Dump station easily available.

Off tomorrow to River Plantation in Tennessee and the RV Dreams Rally!!
Hope you’ll be there too!!!

PS Just as I was hurrying to finish composing
this (sitting in my lounge chair
on the patio)
 with the thunder  
but before I could post it,
the rain started again
and within 5 minutes
a policeman came to tell us
there was a
warning (not watch, warning).
 So off we went to the bathhouse.  
So much for my good weather statement above

All that was nearly 6 hours ago. 
Everything has turned out fine.
And we are very thankful!


  1. That is a beautiful area of Virginia. I backpacked a number of times along the Appalachian Trail which runs through SW Virginia, and have driven through Marion quite often. I sure miss that area in the springtime.

  2. We drove through that tornado warning on the way down here to the rally! Was a bit scary as the rain was blinding on 81..

    See you at the rally!

  3. You had me hooked on that campground and then broke my heart with the 35' limit :( We are 40. I must say though, that in all the state parks and COE parks we've gone to, we've never NOT been able to squeeze in. Sometimes it's more of a challenge than others, but we've done it. I wonder if this might be one of those??? (she says keeping her fingers crossed)

  4. Sounds like a great park. We have never seen much of Virginia but it is high on our list.

  5. thanks for the park names - although we are 37 feet i will call them to see if we can get into hungry mothers next month on our way north from NC... beautiful looking park.

  6. I love Hungry Mother - someday I will return - I suspect it will not be an RV ;) So wonderful to hear about your travels - keep the posts coming. Miss you and Dad lots!

  7. Wish I had known youwere coming thru our area (Mountain City TN) we would have taken time to visit with you -- at any rate we will see you in Sevierville

  8. We appreciate the info about the lengths of RVs that can stay in the parks. We're at 40 feet, so that keeps us out, darn it! Love the trail photos, the parks are beautiful. We've been in the desert so long, we miss the trees and grass.


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