26 May Police Question Me – Blue Ridge Parkway more Day 5
It was well past 9 pm and dark when two police cars with lights flashing pulled up in front on the Parkway. Another car pulled up behind my spot on the dirt road with headlights turned in my direction. I walked up to the dirt road while putting on my shirt and trying to look respectable. The guy on the road was a neighbor. Only the woods are visible and I don’t see a neighborhood. The police join us and tell me that I am on Parkway land and that they don’t have authority to tell me that I can’t camp there and they aren’t even sure what the Park Service Regulations say regarding camping. They say Park Service is closed and they wouldn’t come until morning if at all. ( I might have actually been camping legally, but I doubt it.) We went through the routine checking ID and answering questions. I could tell The neighbor was starting to feel a little bad about causing this ruckus so he began giving reasons that this wasn’t a good place to be. Drug users hang out in these woods. The officer added that the towns top suicide spot was the bridge at the bottom of the hill. I apologized and offered to move on to a motel if given a ride with my bike. I explained that I did not my presence to upset the lady who had been walking her dog with the gentleman a few hours earlier. The neighbor started apologizing for the lady by saying that she was afraid of everything. She worries that a bear will get her when she goes to the mailbox.
The neighbor had a bike rack and offered to take me to the Apple Valley Motel about 8 miles south on the Parkway. I broke camp and as Roy the neighbor dropped me off at the Apple Valley I apologized for the trouble I caused and tried to give him a ten for his gas. I wished him luck in clearing all of the drug users out of his area.
Just a word about stealth camping. I do it and I accept the consequences. It is the act of camping in a spot where there is nobody to ask permission and can include camping in obvious private land or posted spots. I build no fires and I leave the spot untouched. Usually nobody will ever know I was there unless they read my blog and very few people read my blog 😉
Photo: My “Stealth” camp in Vinton, VA. ( I am wearing shorts, not naked. I had just rubbed down with Deet.) I didn’t bother with a very stealthy camp because this area wasn’t posted and it would be dark soon. I was discovered by a man and a woman on a walk. Although they told me I was on public land, the woman must have felt threatened.