Click on Hugh for larger image.
Hugh Panel was a mountain man by birth and was raised in the back-woods of the Blue Ridge. In fact, what is left of the cabin in the background was his old home.
Word was getting around that I was roaming the Blue Ridge searching out those few who still remained in their old home sites.
The National Park service moved most of the mountain people out during the mid thirties, to make room for the Blue Ridge Parkway construction which had already begun near Cumberland Knob, North Carolina. Those that lived further back in the hollows and along side ridges remained until old age forced them to move out into the real world.
Hugh had moved in with family members who lived in the Shenandoah Valley, but he never forgot his home place.
I received a call one day from a family member asking about my hikes through the Blue Ridge, and he wanted to know if I would be interested in taking Hugh back to his old boyhood home for a brief visit. I said yes, and to make a longer story short, we did just that. I even loaned Hugh one of my hiking sticks.
Hugh turned out to be a pretty good hiker and this image was made while sitting in front of his old log cabin.
I will never forget the look of excitement on his face when we came within sight of that old place. It was times like this when I truly appreciated what I was doing.