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With fall color still near peak, I headed back over to the Blue Ridge Parkway for a wander. The destination: The Peaks of Otter area, with an eye towards finding the site where a B-25 bomber crashed into Sharp Top Mountain in 1943. Come along and check it out!

I’d set out quite early, and made it to the Peaks of Otter Lodge and Abbott Lake for sunrise.

Next stop: the Fallingwater Cascades Trail. I’d actually hiked the first part of this one before, but this time I did the full loop. Beautiful!

I took the shuttle van to near the peak of Sharp Top Mountain, then hiked around and up to the summit. Excellent views from up there.

The aptly-named Turtle Rock.

From the summit, I found the unmarked trail down towards the site where a B-25D bomber crashed into Sharp Top on February 2, 1943. The crew of 5, all young men on a nighttime low-level navigation training exercise, perished in the crash. Due to the difficult terrain, most of the aircraft remains, scattered across the mountainside beneath a memorial plaque (installed on the 2001 anniversary of the accident).

The crash site is pretty steep, and the leaf litter made footing dicey. After climbing back up, I was exhausted! I made my way back down the mountain and called it a day.

But first, a stop for some drone photos and video!

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