July 13 – zip, slip, and flip

Man oh man just another gorgeous summer day in certral VA!  We’re expecting a return to regular summer heat soon, but I’m going to enjoy every one of these cool days for everything they’re worth.

Today, I drove a vanload of Twin Oakers (kids, parents, and friends) to an old soapstone quarry south of Charlottesville for a “zip, slip, and flip” party, and a fantastic time was had by all.  I guess it would have been all-right even if it was 100 degrees, since we spent most of the afternoon in the water, but I’ll never complain about a day in July that’s overcast and tops out in the low 80’s.

Some images/obervations from the party:

first off, the guy who was throwing the party was living in some amazingly productive chanterelle woods, and didn’t even know it.  He had people parking right in the middle of a patch; many had been smashed flat by cars– the ones below narrowly avoided a similar inglorious fate.Image

The guy throwing the party was an architect, and he had built a tiny house made entirely out of glass at the top of the cliff overlooking the quarry.  Here’s the view from his “window.”Image

As we walked down the path to the swimming area, we passed chanterelles by the hundred clustered along the path.  The photo below is one of about four clusters that you pass on a walk of maybe 200 yards.Image

The party featured two aquatic amenities– a zip line (more on that below) and a water slide.  And I can tell you, this slide was every bit as fun as it looks.  Yee-haw!Image

One side of the metal zip line was attached to a tree about halfway up the cliff, and the other side was attached to a tree on the other side of the quarry.  You could choose between handles and a seat, and ride all the way across if you wanted, although most people took the zip line about halfway then plunged into the water.Image

Look it’s me on the zip line!Image

My 4-year old son was determined to get in on the zipline action.  Some people might think he’s too young for this sort of activity; those people don’t know Sami, who’s about the most fearless 4-year old I’ve ever met.Image

Once his younger brother had given it a go, my older boy Zadek was right behind.  The rock in the background is soapstone, which has been mined from this area since the 1700s, and is much valued for carving.  This part of Virginia is riddled with old soapstone quarries, most of them filled with water now, and the property was filled with soapstone sculpture.   You can also see part of the glass house at the top of the cliff.Image

Later in the afternoon, I heard rumor of another smaller quarry just down the hill.  I went exploring and came across this sight.  Such a beautiful spot!  I had to try jumping off of the ledge back there, which was super fun, but extremely difficult to get to.  You either had to climb up the side, through bramble and crumbly gravel, or lower yourself down from the top with a rope (which I did)– there was no easy way to get to the ledge, but it made it even more awesome once you were up there.   Such a fun day!Image

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One response to “July 13 – zip, slip, and flip

  1. Yeah! Now that is some summer fun!

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