Virginia Outdoor Adventures

Virginia Outdoor Adventures Podcast

From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia is a mecca for outdoor travel and adventure. Virginia Outdoor Adventures Podcast is the ultimate guide to local outdoor recreation, including hiking, camping, kayaking, and so much more. Get the information and the inspiration to plan your own adventure, right here in Virginia. Lets Go! read less
Society & CultureSociety & Culture

Episodes

57. Walk Ride Paddle: A Life Outside with Senator Tim Kaine
Yesterday
57. Walk Ride Paddle: A Life Outside with Senator Tim Kaine
“There’s a unifying nature to Virginia's natural beauty. We live in a divided time politically, but whether someone is Democrat, Republican, Independent, or could care less about politics, everybody has a favorite place in Virginia like a trail, a sunset, a beach, a lake, or a river. Everyone has a place that's special to them and everyone is invested in trying to make sure that it's there for their kids and their grandkids. And that's such a unifier. When you're on the trail with people, you're not talking about politics, you're talking about the joy that you're taking in from the surroundings and that is so powerful. That is something about Virginia and Virginians - the unifying nature of our natural beauty and how it brings people together.” – Senator Tim KaineDiscover the “faraway nearby” of Virginia’s wild landscapes in an intimate conversation with Senator Tim Kaine, who shares his introspective journey traversing 1,200 miles of our commonwealth by foot, bike, and canoe. His story is an invigorating blend of history, nature, and community, as well as personal challenges that have enriched his life and helped him stay grounded as a public servant. Senator Kaine’s humorous recollections, including his trail name 'Dog Bowl' and his affectionately named canoe 'Old Raggedy,' add a lighthearted layer to his profound reflections on a life outside. We discuss how his new book, "Walk Ride Paddle," is a love letter to Virginia and a call for all of us to connect with nature. Let’s Go!Follow VAOA Podcast: Instagram I Facebook I Newsletter Sign UpSupport the Show! Buy Me A CoffeeShop the Virginia Outdoor Adventures Merch Store! VAOA Podcast is Sponsored by:Virginia Association for ParksBreaks Interstate ParkVirginia State Parks Advertisers:Visit Campbell CountyJames River AssociationFarOut Virginia Nature Triathlon Mentioned in this Episode:Buy the Book, find resources, and view the book tour schedule at WalkRidePaddle.comEpisode 27 Hiking, Cycling, and Paddling the Virginia Nature Triathlon with Senator Tim Kaine (March 2022)Episode 47 Journey Along the James: Paddling, Camping, and Exploring Virginia’s Iconic River with Charles Johnson, James River Association (June 2023)Virginia DWR boat access sitesJames River Association camping and paddling resourcesSupport the show
56. Let’s Go Adventures - Camping, Hiking, Kayaking, Fly Fishing, Archery, and Orienteering with Diego Riffle and Sarah King, Virginia State Parks
Apr 2 2024
56. Let’s Go Adventures - Camping, Hiking, Kayaking, Fly Fishing, Archery, and Orienteering with Diego Riffle and Sarah King, Virginia State Parks
“Sarah and I want folks to gain some confidence recreating in the outdoors, especially in our Virginia State Parks, and gain some knowledge on how to recreate safely. That's our big two takeaways. Making sure folks can leave our programs feeling confident enough to do it on their own or tag along with their friends and try to share those experiences and make some memories.” – Diego Riffle, Virginia State ParksHave you ever longed to conquer the great outdoors but felt a need to brush up on outdoor skills? Unlock the secrets of Virginia's natural playground with Diego Riffle and Sarah King, outdoor educators with Virginia State Parks. We'll reveal how the 'Let's Go Adventures' program is making outdoor activities accessible, while also helping experienced adventurers improve their skills. Diego and Sarah will guide you through hands-on programs like kayaking, fly fishing, orienteering, archery, hiking, and camping designed to instill confidence and ensure your time outside is as safe as it is unforgettable. We take an inspirational look at the lasting impact of Let’s Go Adventures: a future where the skills learned lead to a lifetime of independent exploration, lasting memories with family and friends, and a deep connection with nature. Let’s Go!Follow VAOA Podcast: Instagram I Facebook I Newsletter Sign UpShop the Virginia Outdoor Adventures Merch Store! VAOA Podcast is Sponsored by:Virginia Association for ParksBreaks Interstate ParkVirginia State Parks Advertisers:Visit Campbell CountyWandering Waters Paddle Quest Mentioned in this Episode:Virginia State Parks Let’s Go AdventuresSupport the show
55. Appalachia’s Greatest Conservation Story: Elk Restoration in Southwest Virginia with Jackie Rosenberger, Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, and Avery Rose, Breaks Interstate Park
Mar 5 2024
55. Appalachia’s Greatest Conservation Story: Elk Restoration in Southwest Virginia with Jackie Rosenberger, Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, and Avery Rose, Breaks Interstate Park
“For almost 200 years we didn't have this native animal. It was because of volunteers and people like Jackie with Virginia DWR and their combined efforts with Breaks Park who worked together to restore the area that elk have returned. Visitors are amazed at how big and how majestic the animal is. It's like an entire rainbow of emotions - excitement, joy, I've even had people cry.” – Avery Rose, Breaks Interstate ParkThe mountains of Virginia’s Appalachian Plateau echo with a sound not heard in over a century - the bugle of bull elk. In this episode, Jackie Rosenberger, Elk Project Leader for the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources and Avery Rose, Elk Tour Manager for Breaks Interstate Park, trace the hoofprints of these majestic creatures from their local extinction to the present-day flourishing population that attracts visitors from around the country and beyond. The story of elk restoration is a narrative of resilience and ecological triumph that's etched into the very landscape of the region. Join us for a journey that's not only about the past and present of these magnificent animals, but also about the future they're shaping for Southwest Virginia. Let’s Go!Follow VAOA Podcast:Instagram I Facebook I Newsletter Sign Up Shop the Virginia Outdoor Adventures Merch Store!Contribute to My Make-A-Wish Trailblaze Challenge VAOA Podcast is Sponsored by:Virginia Association for ParksBreaks Interstate ParkVirginia State Parks Advertisers:Visit Pulaski CountyVisit GilesVisit Wild BuchananBreaks Interstate ParkMentioned in this Episode:Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Elk ViewingVirginia DWR Instagram I FacebookDWR Elk CamBreaks Interstate Park 276-865-4413 Breaks Park Instagram I FacebookBreaks Park Elk Bus Tour ReservationsSouthern Gap Elk Fest Oct 24 - 26Support the show
54. Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases: Protecting Yourself in the Outdoors with Dr. Holly Gaff, Old Dominion University
Feb 20 2024
54. Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases: Protecting Yourself in the Outdoors with Dr. Holly Gaff, Old Dominion University
“As part of the change in economy, we reforested the eastern part of the United States. We have a lot of forests now that are about 100 years old. As the trees came back, the deer came back, as the deer came back, the ticks came with them. And then the pathogens, of course, come along for the ride as well. I think about it from an ecology perspective, that what we did not bring back was also those top predators. So we end up with this ecology of weedy species, like deer, that do replication really well, and raccoons and rodents and all these things that also make excellent tick food.” – Dr. Holly Gaff, Old Dominion University Tick Research TeamHow afraid should you be of ticks and tick-borne diseases? The distribution of ticks in Virginia is expanding and tick-borne diseases are on the rise. But what is the probability of contracting a tick-borne disease? How serious are these diseases to our health and what can we do to protect ourselves outdoors? Dr. Holly Gaff, Professor and Chair of Biological Sciences at Old Dominion University, answers your questions about the complexities of these parasites and their implications on human health. Dr. Gaff tackles myths and truths about tick behavior, the expansion of ticks, and the importance of environmental balance. Discover practical advice on how to keep these bloodsuckers at bay while respecting their place in our ecosystem. Let’s Go! Follow VAOA Podcast:Instagram I Facebook I Newsletter Sign Up Shop the Virginia Outdoor Adventures Merch Store!Contribute to My Make-A-Wish Trailblaze Challenge VAOA Podcast is Sponsored by:Virginia Association for ParksBreaks Interstate ParkVirginia State Parks Advertisers: Visit Giles Mentioned in this Episode:Connect with Dr. Holly GaffODU Tick TeamFacebook InstagramSupport the show
53. Virginia’s Adventure Towns: Farmville with Mayor Brian Vincent
Feb 6 2024
53. Virginia’s Adventure Towns: Farmville with Mayor Brian Vincent
“There's a real excitement about Farmville, a steady progression, where we sit on this cusp of what we all think is an opportunistic moment for Farmville to shine. It's a great place to live, work, and recreate. That is our new tag for the town and I think it fits us well.” – Mayor Brian Vincent Welcome to Farmville in the heart of central Virginia. Our guest, Mayor Brian Vincent, takes us on a journey through Farmville, where college town vibe meets small town charm. From our dynamic conversation, one can't help but feel the town's heartbeat through its myriad of outdoor adventures and main street allure. Together, we’ll roam through Farmville’s extensive outdoor rec offerings, including the “Farmville Five,” a list of must-visit state parks near town, uncovering the hidden treasures that make each park a true gem. And speaking of gems, weaving through the core of Farmville is High Bridge Trail State Park, a 31-mile-long rails-to-trails park with the crown jewel being the majestic High Bridge, Virginia's longest recreational bridge. Soaring 125 feet above the Appomattox River, High Bridge Trail is a haven for hikers, cyclists, and history buffs alike. Get ready to add another stamp on your passport to Virginia's Adventure Towns. Let’s Go! Follow VAOA Podcast:Instagram I Facebook I Newsletter Sign Up Contribute to my Podfest Wishlist!Shop the Virginia Outdoor Adventures Merch Store! VAOA Podcast is Sponsored by:Virginia Association for ParksBreaks Interstate ParkVirginia State Parks Mentioned in this Episode:Connect with Mayor Brian VincentAppomattox River Company: Instagram I FacebookHigh Bridge Trail State ParkMap of High Bridge TrailTwin Lakes State ParkBear Creek Lake State ParkHolliday Lake State ParkSailor’s Creek Battlefield State ParkCanoeing and KayakingBoating and FishingHiking and CyclingCampingHorseback RidingBright Eyes Alpaca RetreatState ForestsSupport the show
52. Dragon’s Tooth, Cascade Falls, and other gems of the Eastern Divide Ranger District with Ranger Beth Christensen, George Washington & Jefferson National Forests
Jan 23 2024
52. Dragon’s Tooth, Cascade Falls, and other gems of the Eastern Divide Ranger District with Ranger Beth Christensen, George Washington & Jefferson National Forests
“I couldn't be more proud. My staff and I have a lot of pride in taking care of these areas and this landscape, because there are so many things to love and there is so much uniqueness. But part of management is balancing the use these areas receive and trying to figure out ways to work with the public, or work with the partners, or work with a volunteer group to help support the sustainability of these areas over the long term.” -Ranger Beth Christensen, George Washington & Jefferson National Forests Embark on an intimate trek through Virginia's Appalachian Mountains with Ranger Beth Christensen of the Eastern Divide Ranger District in the George Washington & Jefferson National Forests. Beth's stories transport us from the jagged peaks of Dragon's Tooth, a jewel in Virginia’s Triple Crown, to the powerful rush of Cascade Falls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls on the entire east coast. Beth’s insights into visitor information and preparing for a hike are golden nuggets for any outdoor enthusiast eager to explore responsibly. Whether you're drawn to the high-flying raptors at Hanging Rock Observatory or the soothing sounds of Dismal Falls, this episode is a heartfelt tribute to Virginia's wild heart and an open invitation to tread lightly, give back, and immerse yourself in the enchantment of these revered spaces. Let’s Go! Follow VAOA Podcast:Website I Instagram I Facebook I Newsletter Sign Up Send Me to Podfest in Orlando, Florida! VAOA Podcast is Sponsored by:Virginia Association for Parks – Parks Advocacy DayBreaks Interstate ParkVirginia State Parks Advertisers:Virginia Association for Parks – Parks Advocacy DayVisit Pulaski CountyMake-A-Wish Greater Virginia – Register or Contribute to My Trailblaze ChallengeVisit Giles Mentioned in this Episode: (Become a Member of VAOA and receive the full list of show notes)Connect with Beth: Eastern Divide Ranger District I 540-552-4641 I FacebookNew River Valley Master NaturalistsAppalachian Trail ConservancyPoverty Creek Trails CoalitionRoanoke Appalachian Trail ClubPiedmoSupport the show
51. Trail of Transformation: Discovering Nature’s Path to Inner Strength and Resiliency with Kevin Conley, Wildland Firefighter and Author of Above the Ashes
Jan 9 2024
51. Trail of Transformation: Discovering Nature’s Path to Inner Strength and Resiliency with Kevin Conley, Wildland Firefighter and Author of Above the Ashes
“The best way to describe how I got into this journey is that in the past, I've hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, and I've done bike tours from Mexico to Canada, and those journeys always gave me faith and they renewed my spirit, and they breathed new life into me. Those challenges always put me in a very positive and happy place.” - Kevin Conley, Wildland Firefighter and Author of Above the AshesWhen darkness looms, is it possible for nature's light to guide us back? Kevin Conley, author and wildland firefighter, joins us to answer just that. In an episode that's as raw as it is real, we follow Kevin's harrowing trek from the brink of despair, through his battle with severe panic attacks and depression, to the catharsis and clarity he found in the solitude of the outdoors on a 3,500-mile bike ride across the country. His narrative, captured in, "Above the Ashes," isn't just about personal triumph; it's an intimate tour of nature’s healing landscapes and a story of redemption that speaks to the resilience we all possess. Let’s Go!Follow VAOA Podcast:Website I Instagram I Facebook I Newsletter Sign Up Support the Show: Buy Me A Coffee  VAOA Podcast is Sponsored by:Breaks Interstate ParkVirginia State ParksVirginia Association for Parks Mentioned in this Episode:Connect with Kevin: Website I Instagram Buy the Book: Above the AshesDonate: Wildland Firefighter Foundation988 Suicide and Crisis LifelineSupport the show
50. Virginia's Adventure Towns: St. Paul with Maddie Gordon, Clinch Life Outfitters
Dec 12 2023
50. Virginia's Adventure Towns: St. Paul with Maddie Gordon, Clinch Life Outfitters
“My husband and I traveled out west and saw wonderful, amazing sights. My favorite thing was coming back into Southwest Virginia, seeing our mountains and knowing that I was home. It was so beautiful. There's nothing like it being here in the coalfields and the small towns. You know, it's gorgeous out there. But being back here, it's a comfort. I just love it.” – Maddie Gordon, Clinch Life Outfitters Welcome to the Town of St. Paul in the heart of Appalachia. Our guest, Maddie Gordon, owner of Clinch Life Outfitters, unravels the hidden gems of this charming town.   Whether you're casting a line or paddling downstream, the turquoise waters of the Clinch promise a serene escape into nature's embrace. Feel the adrenaline-pumping thrill of ATV riding on the Spearhead Trails, then lace up your hiking boots and take in the stunning mountain vistas from Clinch River State Park. Get ready for an unforgettable experience in St. Paul – where nature's wonders and small town hospitality collide. Let’s Go! Follow VAOA Podcast:Website I Instagram I Facebook I Newsletter Sign Up Support the Show: Buy Me A Coffee I Shop the Official Merch Store VAOA Podcast is Sponsored by:Breaks Interstate ParkVirginia State ParksVirginia Association for ParksVirginia Department of Wildlife Resources Advertisers:Virginia is for LoversWestern Front Hotel Music by 49 Winchester Mentioned in this Episode:Connect with Maddie Gordon: Clinch Life Outfitters I Instagram I FacebookEmail: info@clinchlifeoutfitters.com I Phone: 276-608-6907*Mention Virginia Outdoor Adventures in-store and receive a discount, compliments of Maddie Clinch River State ParkTrails in St PaulMountain View/Spearhead TrailsClinch River AdventuresMountain View LodgeSugar Plum Tavern and EateryGiovannisBluejean Bakery and CaféThe Coffee StationFat Boys BBQPuerto NuevoHeart of Appalachia Visitors CenterSupport the show
49. Hiking Virginia’s Summits with Erin Gifford, Go Hike Virginia
Nov 28 2023
49. Hiking Virginia’s Summits with Erin Gifford, Go Hike Virginia
“One of my favorite things about Virginia summits is I love going up there and being able to stare out, getting lost in the views. Virginia has so many beautiful views - Appalachian Mountain, Shenandoah Mountains, Blue Ridge Mountains - we've got them all and being able to look out at the mountains, out at the farmlands, it's just amazing.” – Erin Gifford, Go Hike Virginia Every hiker knows the thrill and sense of accomplishment that comes with reaching a mountain’s peak. Epic views and stunning scenery are often what motivates hikers to lace up their boots and head for the top. Get ready to bag Virginia’s peaks with Erin Gifford of Go Hike Virginia as she shares the highlights of her latest book, “Virginia Summits: 40 Best Mountain Hikes from the Shenandoah Valley to Southwest Virginia.” Erin’s insights are invaluable as she describes summit hikes throughout the Commonwealth, such as the 360-degree views from Bear Fence in Shenandoah National Park, the challenging terrain of Humpback Rocks on the Blue Ridge Parkway, or the distinctive High Knob Fire Tower in the George Washington National Forest. Whether you're a seasoned hiker looking to take on a challenge or an outdoor enthusiast scouting for a new adventure, this episode is your guide to conquering Virginia’s summits. Let’s Go! Follow VAOA Podcast:Website I Instagram I Facebook Support the Show: Buy Me A Coffee I Shop the Official Merch Store VAOA Podcast is Sponsored by:Breaks Interstate ParkVirginia State ParksVirginia Association for ParksVirginia Department of Wildlife Resources Advertisers:Visit Patrick CountyVisit Smyth County Mentioned in this Episode:Connect with Erin Gifford: Go Hike VirginiaBooks: Virginia Summits: 40 Best Mountain Hikes from the Shenandoah Valley to Southwest Virginia Episode 29. Great Hikes in Virginia with Erin GiffordNational Parks PassDWR Restore the Wild Membership Virginia State Parks Annual PassThe Ten Essentials of HikingLeave No TraceEpisode 13. Endless Outdoor Rec Opportunities on Shenandoah Mountain with Lynn Cameron I Co-Chair, Friends of Shenandoah MountainSupport the show
48. Journey along the James: Paddling, Camping, and Exploring Virginia's Iconic River with Charles Johnson, James River Association
Jun 27 2023
48. Journey along the James: Paddling, Camping, and Exploring Virginia's Iconic River with Charles Johnson, James River Association
“The James River runs 340 miles through the heart of Virginia, from the Blue Ridge all the way to the beautiful Chesapeake Bay. The river’s watershed is roughly 10,000 square miles and it supplies drinking water for 2.7 million people. It also provides opportunities to relax, adventure, and enjoy the great outdoors.” – Charles Johnson, James River AssociationRich in history and culture, the mighty James meanders over 340 miles through verdant forests, picturesque valleys, and rushing rapids from its headwaters in the Blue Ridge to the Chesapeake Bay. Flowing through the heart of Virginia, the James River offers abundant recreational activities, such as paddling, rafting, fishing, camping, and wildlife watching. Charles Johnson from the James River Association helps us navigate the ins and outs of planning the perfect paddling and camping expedition and shares valuable tips for finding the best resources for your own river adventure. So get ready to immerse yourself in the rhythmic harmony of paddles gliding through water and the majesty of eagles soaring overhead on the river that played a pivotal role in shaping Virginia’s past and continues to inspire the present. Let’s Go!Become a Member of Virginia Outdoor Adventures to receive the full list of show notes to your inbox:Charles Johnson: LinkedIn I InstagramJames River Association: Website I Facebook I InstagramEp 35. Whitewater Paddling with James River WomenEp 27.  The Virginia Nature Triathlon with Senator Tim KaineCamping on the JamesJames River Batteau Festival, ScottsvilleRVA Paddle SportsTwin River OutfittersJames River State ParkPowhatan State ParkRiverside OutfittersHelp the JamesSupport the show
47. Ocean Connections: Catching Waves and Conserving Coastlines with Drew White, Coastal Plant Ecology Lab at VCU
Jun 13 2023
47. Ocean Connections: Catching Waves and Conserving Coastlines with Drew White, Coastal Plant Ecology Lab at VCU
“I've taken a boogie board out in just the tiniest little waves breaking right on the shore and had a blast. I've taken a surfboard out in waves that were almost as tall as I was and had a blast. There’s such a variety of waves that anybody at most any skill level can have a good time in Virginia.”  - Drew White, Coastal Plant Ecology Lab at VCUGet ready to ride the waves as we explore surfing, boogie boarding, and body surfing with ocean enthusiast, Drew White, from the Coastal Plant Ecology Lab at Virginia Commonwealth University. Drew shares his insights on Virginia's best surfing locations, wave-riding safety, and why you don't need the biggest waves to have the biggest fun. But our adventure doesn't end there – we're also diving into the fascinating world of plant ecology and the importance of dunes in protecting the habitats of Virginia’s coastal ecosystem. So grab your board and score a wave. Let’s Go! Follow VAOA Podcast:Website I Instagram I Facebook Support the Show: Buy Me A Coffee VAOA Podcast is Sponsored By:·       Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources I DWR Shop·       Breaks Interstate Park·       Virginia Association for Parks·       Virginia State Parks Advertisers:·       Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine·       Virginia State Parks Wandering Waters Paddle Quest Mentioned in this Episode:Connect with Drew White: aewhite@vcu.eduCoastal Plant Ecology Lab at Virginia Commonwealth UniversitySurfing vs Boogie BoardingMovie: Come Hell or High WaterSurf Line AppNational Weather ServiceWindy.comTropical TidbitsFalse Cape State ParkSavage Neck Dunes Natural Area PreserveEpisode Cover Photo by George Hernandez: Website I FacebookSupport the show
46. Jeep Overlanding with Shawn Van Der Poel and Dawn Creamer, Terra Overland
May 30 2023
46. Jeep Overlanding with Shawn Van Der Poel and Dawn Creamer, Terra Overland
“Once those tires hit the dirt, it's a completely different experience. It's about getting out and having a great adventure, freeing your mind, freeing your soul, and reconnecting with nature.” - Shawn Van Der Poel, Terra OverlandImagine yourself behind the wheel of a fully equipped Jeep Wrangler Rubicon designed to conquer any terrain, traversing the majestic George Washington National Forest, as you embark on an unforgettable expedition. Virginia has an extensive network of overlanding trails that cater to adventure seekers of all interests and skill levels. From navigating obstacles and mud holes, to reaching new heights at breathtaking summits, you'll experience a profound sense of accomplishment that only the wilderness can provide. Shawn Van der Poel and Dawn Creamer from Terra Overland, have made the freedom of vehicle-supported travel and self-reliant adventure accessible to everyone. Buckle in and discover a true spirit of exploration through overlanding. Let’s Go! Follow VAOA Podcast:Website I Instagram I Facebook Support the Show: Buy Me A Coffee VAOA Podcast is Sponsored By:·       Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources I DWR Shop·       Breaks Interstate Park·       Virginia Association for Parks·       Virginia State Parks Advertisers:·       Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine Mentioned in this Episode: Connect with Terra Overland: Website I Instagram I Facebook  George Washington National ForestFlagpole KnobMassanutten ResortBoar’s Head ResortWintergreen ResortBlog: Navigation and Route for our MABDR Backcountry Hiking and Overlanding Jeep Trek Support the show
45. Waterfalls of Shenandoah National Park with Ranger Kevin Moses
May 2 2023
45. Waterfalls of Shenandoah National Park with Ranger Kevin Moses
“I love everything about waterfalls. I love their energy. I love the sound they make in the otherwise quiet woods. I love the mist that forms at the base of the falls. If sunlight hits it just right, you can see a rainbow in the air. They're just plain pretty and photogenic. It's not a living creature, and yet it's animated. I think of it as an animated force in nature that always has life-like qualities even though it's not alive. And I just love that about waterfalls.” - Ranger Kevin Moses, Shenandoah National ParkWhat is it about waterfalls that draw us in? Perhaps it’s the mesmerizing sight of free-falling cascades, or the sound of a soothing trickle or a powerful thundering roar. Maybe it’s the feeling of mist that dusts our skin or the fresh scent of moisture and earth mixing in the air. Shenandoah National Park is home to dozens of waterfalls that attract thousands of visitors every year. Ranger Kevin Moses, the park’s Search and Rescue Coordinator, highlights some of his favorite falls, interesting facts about the formation of the park’s natural features, and how to prepare for a hike so you can safely enjoy the power and beauty of Shenandoah’s waterfalls. Let’s Go!Follow VAOA Podcast:Website I Instagram I Facebook Support the Show: Buy Me A Coffee VAOA Podcast is Sponsored By:·       Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources I DWR Shop·       Breaks Interstate Park·       Virginia Association for Parks·       Virginia State Parks Advertisers:·    Shenandoah National Park Trust Mentioned in this Episode:Shenandoah National Park HomepageSNP GeologyHiking BasicsThe 10 Essentials of HikingThe 7 Principles of Leave No TraceSNP Trail MapsSNP Visitor CentersSNP Hikes to WaterfallsEpisode 33, Hiking Old Rag Mountain with Gabby Dreyfus, Old Rag Mountain StewardsSupport the show
44. Beginner Backpacking with Alison Wata, Exploration Solo
Apr 18 2023
44. Beginner Backpacking with Alison Wata, Exploration Solo
“Teaching others how to backpack takes being confident in your own skills, knowing what you can handle, and a desire to help other people love the outdoors.”  -Alison Wata, Exploration SoloThe experience of a backcountry trip immerses us in nature in a way that a day hike just can’t match. Backpacking can build confidence, provide a true sense of independence, and foster a love of the great outdoors. But maybe the idea of packing up and heading into the wilderness is overwhelming or even intimidating. Alison Wata, backpacking guide and owner of Exploration Solo, addresses the most common concerns of beginner backpackers, including selecting and packing gear, meal preparation, navigation, safety, and even the dreaded bathroom situation. Alison offers step-by-step advice and helps you find the best resources and support to get you ready for the adventure of a lifetime. Let’s Go!Follow VAOA Podcast:Website I Instagram I Facebook Support the Show: Buy Me A Coffee VAOA Podcast is Sponsored By:·       Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources I DWR Shop·       Breaks Interstate Park·       Virginia Association for Parks·       Virginia State Parks Advertisers:·       Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine·       Hennessy Hammock·       Zenbivy Mentioned in this Episode:Connect with Alison Wata: Website I Instagram I Facebook I YouTube I Email: alison@explorationsolo.comPATC Backpacking courses (also check community colleges, park authorities, outfitters, and certified guides)Bonus Episode: Aaron Owens Mayhew, Backcountry FoodieUrsak Bear Resistant BagEpisode 22. Hiking McAfee Knob and Virginia’s Triple Crown with Diana Christopulos, Roanoke Appalachian Trail ClubMount Rogers National Recreation AreaWashington and Jefferson National ForestsShenandoah National Park backcountry camping permitWildlife Management Areas access permitVirginia State Parks primitive campsitesGaia GPSThe Hiking ProjectSupport the show
43. Virginia’s Lost Appalachian Trail with Mills Kelly, Historian and Host of The Green Tunnel Podcast
Apr 4 2023
43. Virginia’s Lost Appalachian Trail with Mills Kelly, Historian and Host of The Green Tunnel Podcast
“The Appalachian Trail is thought of as a trail for thru hikers but it's just not true. Three to four million people will hike on the Appalachian Trail this year. A couple thousand of those will be thru hikers. They're less than one half of one percent. Thru hiking 2,198 miles is an amazing accomplishment and so they kind of suck up all the media attention. The real story of the trail is not the story of the thru hikers, it’s the story of the person who does a five-mile loop hike on a Saturday.”  – Mills Kelly, Historian and Host of The Green Tunnel PodcastReferred to by hikers as “The Green Tunnel,” the Appalachian National Scenic Trail is the oldest and most iconic multi-state, long-distance footpath, but the trail that we know today is not the trail that originally traversed Southwest Virginia. Historian and lifelong hiker, Mills Kelly, tells the story of Virginia’s lost Appalachian Trail and the communities impacted by the trail’s relocation. Mills also shares the contributions hikers make to the towns along the trail, surprising facts about trail use today and how it has changed over the last century, and advice for any thru hiker, section hiker, or day hiker planning to join the 3 to 4 million users who set foot on the Appalachian Trail each year. Let’s Go!Follow VAOA Podcast:Website I Instagram I Facebook Support the Show: Buy Me A Coffee VAOA Podcast is Sponsored By:·       Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources I DWR Shop·       Breaks Interstate Park·       Virginia Association for Parks·       Virginia State Parks Advertisers:·       Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine·       Hennessy Hammock·       Zenbivy Mentioned in this Episode:*Support the Show with a Membership and Receive the Full List of Show Notes LinksConnect with Mills Kelly and The Green Tunnel Podcast:Website I Instagram I Email - tkelly7@gmu.eduBuy the book, Virginia’s Lost Appalachian Trail (Check your local booksellers first)Episode 22. Hiking McAfee Knob and Virginia’s Triple Crown with Diana Christopulos, Roanoke Appalachian Trail ClubPotomac Appalachian Trail ClubNatural Bridge Trail ClubRoanoke Appalachian Trail ClubPATC MapsAppalachian Trail ConservancySupport the show
42. A Glimpse into the Wonderful World of Virginia’s Wildlife with Meagan Thomas, Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources
Mar 7 2023
42. A Glimpse into the Wonderful World of Virginia’s Wildlife with Meagan Thomas, Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources
“You get this intimate view of something that you don't get to see too often, and you kind of get to know the birds and what to expect from them. You get sucked in. It's like nature documentaries and I think it has the same appeal. You get that here in downtown Richmond, which is probably the last place people expect to see it.” - Meagan Thomas, Virginia Department of Wildlife ResourcesImagine taking a peek at aquatic life below the surface of the James River or watching Peregrine Falcons hatch atop a Richmond skyscraper. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources’ live-streaming cameras offer a glimpse into the wonderful world of Virginia’s wildlife, from restored elk habitat in the mountains to the tidal marshes of the coast. Meagan Thomas, Watchable Wildlife Biologist, describes what makes these wildlife cams so popular, how you can contribute as a community scientist, and why you won’t want to miss a moment of eggs hatching, fish migrating, elk bugling, and so much more. Let’s Go!Follow VAOA Podcast:Website I Instagram I Facebook Support the Show: Buy Me A Coffee VAOA Podcast is Sponsored By:·       Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources I DWR Shop·       Breaks Interstate Park·       Visit Mecklenburg·       Virginia Association for Parks·       Virginia State Parks Advertisers:·       Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine Mentioned in this Episode:*Support the Show with a Membership and Receive the Full List of Show Notes LinksDWR Wildlife CamsDWR Wildlife Management AreasRichmond Falcon CamFalcon Cam BlogSubmit Marsh Cam sightings on iNaturalistDWR on Instagram I Facebook I Website I Notes from the Field BlogSupport the show
41. Stargazing in Virginia’s Dark Sky Parks with Jayme Hanzak, Chapel Hill Astronomical and Observational Society
Feb 21 2023
41. Stargazing in Virginia’s Dark Sky Parks with Jayme Hanzak, Chapel Hill Astronomical and Observational Society
“As I stared at the cloud, I realized it wasn’t really a cloud. Those were all stars. It was very humbling for a 12-year-old to be looking up at the Milky Way. It really set me back on my feet to realize how small I was on this planet, and how little our planet was compared to all those stars up in the sky.” - Jayme Hanzak, Chapel Hill Astronomical and Observational SocietyWhen was the last time you looked up at the night sky? There are few experiences quite like stargazing that can help us realize our place in the vast and brilliant universe. Virginia is home to five officially designated dark sky parks where stargazing is exceptional, and the night sky is protected for generations to come. Jayme Hanzak, of the Chapel Hill Astronomical and Observational Society, describes the important role dark skies play in human health and the health of our planet. Jayme also shares night sky viewing opportunities across Virginia, including the semiannual Star Party at Staunton River State Park that attracts stargazers from the entire east coast and beyond. Get ready to experience a state park after dark. Let’s Go!*Cover Image by Larry W. BrownFollow VAOA Podcast:Website I Instagram I Facebook Support the Show: Buy Me A Coffee VAOA Podcast is Sponsored By:·       Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources I DWR Shop·       Breaks Interstate Park·       Visit Mecklenburg·       Virginia Association for Parks·       Virginia State Parks Advertisers:·       Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine Mentioned in this Episode:*Support the Show with a Membership and Receive the Full List of Show Notes LinksStaunton River State ParkVirginia State Parks' International Dark Sky ParksRappahannock County ParkInternational Dark Skies AssociationChapel Hill Astronomical and Observational SocietyNorthern Virginia Astronomy Club, Sky Meadows State ParkRoanoke Valley Astronomical Society, Natural Bridge State ParkCrewe Astronomy Club, James River State ParkSouthern Gap Outdoor AdventureAstronomy Clubs in VirginiaPlanetariums in VirginiaObservatories in VirginiaSupport the show
39. Ice Climbing in Virginia’s Blue Ridge with Grant Price, Blue Ridge Mountain Guides
Jan 24 2023
39. Ice Climbing in Virginia’s Blue Ridge with Grant Price, Blue Ridge Mountain Guides
“One of my favorite parts about Virginia's outdoors is that a lot of places aren't that mainstream or heavily publicized, so they require some adventuring, which can make for great experiences, stories and memories.”  – Grant Price, Blue Ridge Mountain GuidesIce climbing in Virginia? You may not think of the South as a destination for ice climbing, but when the conditions are right, the frozen crags in the higher elevations of the Blue Ridge Mountains might be the best kept secret in Virginia. Grant Price, of Blue Ridge Mountain Guides, explains why ice climbing is more accessible than you might think. Grant describes the experience of ascending frozen formations, the type of gear required, and how to access ice climbing through guides and clubs, so you can add this winter adventure to your local bucket list. Let’s Go!Follow VAOA Podcast:Website I Facebook I Instagram I TwitterSupport the show: Buy Me A Coffee VAOA Podcast is Sponsored by:Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources I Shop DWR I Virginia Wildlife Grant ProgramVisit MecklenburgBreaks Interstate ParkVirginia Association for ParksVirginia State Parks Advertisers:Visit the Eastern Shore of VirginiaVisit HarrisonburgBlue Ridge Outdoors MagazineMentioned in this Episode:*Support the Show with a Membership and Receive the Full List of Show Notes LinksConnect with Grant Price and Blue Ridge Mountain Guides:Website I Instagram I Facebook I TwitterPotomac Appalachian Trail Club Mountaineering SectionAmerican Alpine Club I Washington DC Section I Richmond ChapterGarmin In-Reach Mini 2Support the show