This is the original location of the Fremont train station in Dickenson County VA:


As the railroad went up to Moss mine, Fremont became a busy place…built in 1915.  Sometime later, a giant grabbed the depot and put it on the hill.  Up there is Fremont Avenue (Highway 83 which wends its way between Clintwood and Clinchco.  On the other side of the tracks, across a rather heavy-duty bridge over the McClure River, is Highway 63 which takes you to, surprise!, McClure.
The renovated depot, by the way, looks great and continues to well serve the people who travel in this area.

#14 Short Branch tunnel

Short Branch tunnel
Short Branch tunnel











This is Short Branch tunnel, just south of Reinhart.  It’s located by the McClure River (I think that Short Branch is a creek somewhere in the area) and is 913′ long at 37.152285, -82.372719.  The reface date on the portal is 1930.  This is looking toward Elkhorn City and that’s me heading up to take a look into the tunnel.  On the way across the creek by an old, low concrete bridge, we saw an amazing group of butterflies on the shore.  The picture is titled “Butterfly Airport”.  Butterflies, I found out later, have an affinity for dung heaps.  I feel differently now about butterflies.

Butterfly Airport

#8 Hewitt tunnel

This is Hewitt Tunnel, about 13.6 miles from Elkhorn City.  This was the most difficult tunnel for us to reach, since we opted not to wade the McClure River (it would have been easier to do that…the river’s not really deep in that area), but to drive in on a road I’d spotted on Google Earth.   The gravel road was about a mile downhill with drainage berms cut across the road a regular intervals.  I got my Honda Civic over them with minimal scraping going down, but coming back was a white knuckler as the car spun in the gravel and failed to gain traction.  With my buddy’s pushing and the little car’s gutsy (!) front wheel drive, we managed to get the job done, but my hands were shaking from adrenaline when we got back to the main road. I also found out later that all that spinning and stuff had basically destroyed my tires.  It was time for new rubber, anyway.