Over Half Way To Goal

I have great respect for long distance runners and long trail hikers.  Maybe if I had discovered hiking in my youth (instead of at the ripe old age of 59) I would have tried hiking the Appalachian Trail.  But as it is, I’m grateful for every hike and every walk through the woods, especially considering that just a few years ago I had trouble walking to my car.

I set a goal for the summer of walking all of the New River Trail – 57 miles of abandoned railroad – in sections.  Today we crossed the halfway mark and made it to mile marker 31!

We did 6.7 miles today and 6.7 miles on Saturday – each trip taking just at 2 hours. Today’s hike was a little more scenic – Ivanhoe to the Shot Tower.

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31 down – 26 to go, can’t wait!

 

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Backroads, BlueGrass & Strawberries

There are many people out there who think Southwest Virginia ends at Bristol (where I 81 takes you into Tennessee).  Followers of The Crooked Road, know better.  This week we set out to see where the crooked road would take us and we were not disappointed.  Cruising on Route 58, listening to Bluegrass Junction on Sirius XM on our way to our cabin rental in the mountains, we stopped on the side of the road and bought a bucket of fresh strawberries.  Life doesn’t get any better than that.

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The best thing about being retired, is that you can go places during the week, before the holiday weekend and not have to fight crowds.  We were the only people staying in the cabins this week – although they were completely booked for the weekend ahead.  Appalachian Mountain Cabins – highly recommend them if you are in the area.

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The cabins are located just outside Natural Tunnel State Park, which is near Duffield, VA

We spent the first day hiking all over the state park – from Lover’s Leap, to the Tunnel Hike and just hiking through the woods down by the stream, it was all beautiful!  And we did not meet other hikers until we were almost done for the day.

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A beautiful park, but the next day we went to Cumberland Gap – the truer end of the state where three states meet.

The crooked road was not as crooked but the scenery was stunning.  We spent the day at the National Park – hiking and taking pictures.

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An amazing 3 night get-away,  always a wonderful adventure with my favorite hiking buddy.

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A Walk in the Woods

or:  How I Spent My Anniversary

If you saw the movie based on the book by Bill Bryson – A Walk in the Woods, you may remember the scene where Robert Redford and Nick Nolte are on top of McAfee’s Knob. This lookout on the Appalachian Trail is the most photographed spot on the whole AT.

Living in Southwest Virginia – there are two very popular hikes.  The Cascades, located in Giles County is the most popular hike, even non-hikers have been there.  It is a fairly easy 2 miles in 2 miles out, and the waterfall is stunning.  In the summer you will see people swimming and wading in the very cool water.  Couples take wine and cheese to the top and enjoy a romantic setting.  It’s where you take out of town guests when you need something to do outdoors.

For hikers – McAfee’s Knob is a must!  You can tell by the almost always full parking lot, that it is a favorite among locals as well as out of town visitors.  The view from the top is breathtaking and worth the 3.9 mile hike up the mountain.  This is where we went for our 30th anniversary hike on Sunday.  I can’t think of a better place to be, even though we have been there before.

We took some friends with us who had seen the movie and were dying to see the view.  As we walked up the not so easy. and at times very rocky, trail we all wondered how they got everyone on top of the mountain to shoot the movie.  Robert Redford probably hiked up, but we all agreed Nick Nolte must have been dropped from a helicopter.  Does anyone know?

Regardless, it was a beautiful, sunny, clear day (albeit a little windy) and we all enjoyed the fantastic view.

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After 30 years of marriage, my guy knows that I don’t need flowers, jewelry, candy or cards, just give me a good view from a mountain top!