New Discovery

Sometimes, being the leader of a group can present some challenges.  Last year I was encouraged to start a hiking group for women.  Beginning with just a few friends, my list has grown to about 16 names as more women hear about the group and want to be included.  Not everyone on the list has been able to hike, but that is the beauty of having such a list.  Having the company of one or two others, prevents me from getting lost in the wilderness (have I mentioned I am a terrible map reader?)

One of the challenges I face, is where to go.  Where we go is determined by who is coming with me.  There are some places that I am comfortable going with just one other person. But sometimes, when I know it is a trail with not much traffic, I like to have more bodies. Or if someone has just hiked a trail with me, I look for some place they haven’t been.

If I’m going to a new place, I try to research it as much as possible ahead of time, looking at maps (which is usually Greek to me) and trying to determine how best not to get lost.

Today I lucked out on two fronts.  First, after starting with five women who expressed an interest, and ending up with two who could actually go, we went to one of those places where we were about the only ones on the trail.  There was one other car in the parking lot, but we didn’t see anyone on the trails.

And, secondly, I discovered a new place to hike!   A place I had never heard of, until I saw it on Facebook under: “10 hikes you didn’t know existed.”

Less than an hour away from home, we were treated to a splendid hike that rendered . . .009

some spectacular waterfalls,

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a dam,

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greenery,

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a slightly scary bridge,

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and one show off!

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Mill Creek Trails just on the edge of Narrows, VA proved to be a wonderful discovery. There are several trails with all levels of difficulty.  So of course we must go back.

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And these brave ladies trusted me to take them to a place I had never been.

Let the fall hiking begin!

Walking the Knob

If you have ever driven South on Highway 52 in North Carolina, you have probably noticed a funny looking knob on top of a mountain just outside Winston-Salem.  Pilot Mountain, according to Wikipedia, is “a remnant of the ancient chain of Sauratown Mountains. The Saura Indians, the region’s earliest known inhabitants, called the mountain “Jomeokee,” meaning “great guide.”

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Today on our way home from visiting our daughter in Greensboro (and checking out her new house); we decided to hike around the knob.  We had attempted this previously. However, we had to abort that trip due to heavy winds and some light rain.

Today the weather was much more amenable.

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How beautiful is this formation?

The Sauratown Mountain range continues off in the distance.

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For any of you Andy Griffith fans out there, Mt. Pilot (from the Andy Griffith show) was named for Pilot Mountain which is located just down the road from Mt. Airy (a.k.a. Mayberry).

Next time you’re in North Carolina – check it out!

GOAL!!

It may have taken all summer, but yesterday we achieved our goal of hiking the entire (57.7 miles) New River Trail!

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Some people can bike it in a day, some can hike it in a day or two, but for a couple of seniors – one with a bum knee and one with a bum shoulder – we were pretty proud to have accomplished this goal.  And to make it even better, the weather yesterday was outstanding!  75 degrees, sunshine, low humidity, who could ask for more?

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The final leg took us to the trail end (or beginning, depending on where you live) in Galax, VA at mile marker 51.

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Now that we have hiked the entire trail, we both agreed that our favorite stretch was from the junction where the trail splits off, to either Galax or Fries.  Both had the closest proximity to the river and offered some of these splendid sites.

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Today’s trip was about 10 miles.  Adding to the challenge, I woke up with knee issues and had to wear my knee brace. We discovered that when you know you are going to walk a certain distance, your mind doesn’t let you get tired until you know you are close to the end.  Whether it is 5 miles, 10 miles or more, your body adapts to what the mind tells it. So the aches and pains didn’t become noticeable until we were about 2 miles from the end.

However, we were treated to a wonderful surprise that made us forget those issues for a moment.  We could hear rushing water up ahead and were delighted to discover this stunning waterfall!

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In order to get the perfect shot – JG walked down a path and climbed on a couple of rocks.

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Being a holiday weekend, the trail was filled with bikers – making it a little noisier than what we’ve been used to; since we normally go early on Sunday mornings.  But we were happy to see the trail being enjoyed by college students and families and plenty of seniors like us.

A quick summary of this trail.  Our favorite restaurant on the trail is located inside the Draper Mercantile – The Blue Door Cafe.  The service is not always the best, but the food is usually worth the wait.  The bike shop next door is a great stop too if you are a hiker or a biker.

Even though we may have found the last portion the most picturesque, the leg from Pulaski to Draper offers some interesting sites like the Ghost Train.

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Each section had its own uniqueness and there were just a couple of spots that we thought were a little boring.

However,

Three tunnels and many bridges, lots of nature, enjoying the flow of the river, the peacefulness of hiking early morning, being outdoors with your favorite hiking partner, and going 57.7 miles and only seeing one snake? Priceless!!

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Such a wonderful resource, please come enjoy it with me sometime!

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