Too Hot to Hike

I’m not going to complain about the heat because I definitely prefer summer to winter. However, it has been too hot to hike lately and I must admit, once you get in the habit of doing something a couple of times a week, you really start to miss it.

So instead of a hiking trip, last weekend I planned a surprise overnight for hubby and me to stay at Hotel Roanoke. Located right downtown, it is the perfect location for a bar crawl.

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I don’t care what Donald Trump says – this place is awesome!

The hotel shuttle gave us a nice air conditioned ride to our first stop – Blue 5.  If you like beer, live music, excellent food in a cool and trendy setting – this is where you should be. We had the cheese slaw with home made chips – it was fantastic

Next stop was Lucky– a quaint restaurant located off the beaten path, but well worth finding. We sat at the bar and were happily entertained by the bartenders enjoying their jobs so much, that it didn’t look like work.  My husband ordered the duck liver pate – even though I turned up my nose as he ordered, it turned out to be quite delicious.

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At Billy’s

Our last stop was Billy’s – just across the street from the walkway back to the hotel.  It was later and not quite so hot, so we opted to sit outside in the courtyard.  Deciding we needed something to soak up all the beer we had consumed, we had grilled shrimp and sweet potato fries – both were excellent!

Back to the hotel and one last nightcap in the Pine Room before turning in for the night.

 

What a great way to spend a Friday night.

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Exploring the BRP (Blue Ridge Parkway)

This has been the summer of cabin rentals.  We just returned from our 3rd cabin trip – this time to Boone, NC.  Found a charming little cabin just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, that offered easy access to town, but was just remote enough to provide a peaceful setting.

Before we went, I got on-line to find good hiking in the area.  I found 3 promising trails.  Unfortunately, laziness stepped in and I did not go beyond a name and location.  So the first day we came up short in the “view” department.  We were on a mixed use trail – mountain bikes and hikers.  The trail was very rocky and steep in spots.  We went up, and up, and up. And just when we thought we were at the top and were positioning ourselves for a great view – the trail started back down.  What the wha??  That’s right – 3 hours and over 8 miles with NO VIEW!!

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Okay, it was great exercise and the woods were beautifully lush.  At this point, you have to really like hiking to be happy about a hike like that.

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So the next day, we did a little more reading (thanks to our host and her many brochures).

We hopped on the Blue Ridge Parkway and just stopped at several places that had short hikes to some great views.

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First up (no hike) Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

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with this view.

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A challenging, but short hike at Rough Ridge – provided this view of the Linn Cove Viaduct

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Here’s a shot of the viaduct, taken from my cell phone as we were driving on it.

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Next we stopped at Flat Rock – less than a mile hike, but nice view of the backside of Grandfather Mountain.

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Our last stop was Linville Falls – what we thought was going to be an easy hike – was really further than anticipated and rather steep in places.  But worth the view and just as we got back to the car the rain came.

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If you have never been to the Blue Ridge Parkway, you should really put it on your bucket list. It is beautiful whether you drive it, bike it, hike it – as long as you experience it!   You’ve got 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina – so what are you waiting for??

Early Morning Mist

Continuing with our goal to walk the New River Trail in sections this summer, we sat down Saturday and tried to map out the rest of our walks.  Finding access points to get on the trail was tricky since the map we have is from ’93 when the trail was not yet completed.

We decided to scope out the access points, so hopped in the car and headed South.  I thought we had explored all the back roads in Southwest Virginia but I was wrong.  We tried trusting the car’s GPS, but instinct made us turn the opposite direction and after being lost and confused, we were thrilled when we finally came upon a familiar road. We did accomplish our goal of locating starting points.

Sunday, we went back to Byllesby Dam, which we found the night before and walked to Ivanhoe (5 1/2 miles).

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Probably a good thing it was a short day – we started out early to get the hike in between rain showers.  Although my hubby says anyone can hike in nice weather, and we should really hike in rain and fog once in a while.

We reached the trail at about 8:30 and here are some things I learned about hiking so early in the morning:

a) You are the first to go through the spider webs – ugh!

b) You have the trial to yourself – yay.

c) Hiking when the fog hasn’t lifted and the humidity is high, makes for achy knees.

d) You are the first to discover what appears to be bear scat?  Can anyone confirm?

Mystery scat?

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Got a nice peek at the New River between the trees.

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Buck Dam had roosting Vultures, looking for breakfast.

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This sign was almost hidden.

 

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We saw a lot of signs from horses along the trail.

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This leg of the trail showed more horse activity than usual. And why do we make people pick up after their dogs, but not their horses?  Because it was a cloudy, muggy day, the horse smell was at its worst.

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Just as we approached Ivanhoe, we came upon a campsite filled with horse trailers and campers. This is a tiny representation of the massive invasion of horses and campers. Turns out there was a horse show this weekend.  That explains it.

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Sorry for the “poo” pictures, but it seemed to be the theme of the day.