Angel’s Rest on the AT

One of the many loved hikes in our area is Angel’s Rest – located on the Appalachian Trail near Pearisburg, VA.  I have read about it, heard about it, and dreaded it for years.

DSCN6213

Mostly I have heard how steep it is (1500 ft. elevation gain, from the road, more if you start from the parking lot below).  But considering some of the hikes I have managed lately, I was ready to give it a try.

Early morning hiking is great, you get to see the sun beat through the blanket of fog,

005

appreciate the beauty of the cobwebs,

007

and enjoy the serenity of having the woods to yourselves.

I was surprised by the trail.  Being on the AT, I expected it to be much rougher.  The ascent was steep, for sure, but the trail was well traveled and not very rocky – at least in the beginning.  Of course it did become a more difficult climb as we neared the top.  Isn’t that always the way, you want to be there, you think you can’t drag your body up one more step, and then you turn a corner and see that the trail goes straight up – ugh!  From the road where we parked, it was 1.77 miles to the top.  And, a pretty nice reward awaits you when you arrive.

012

Of course, most people know that there is an even better view if you are willing to walk another 1/2 mile.  Which we did; and it turned out to be a very delightful part of the hike.  At this point you are walking on top of Pearis Mountain and the trail is pretty easy going.

DSCN6233

The rocks provided a perfect place for a rest and a snack.021

Since we were already up there, we decided to make the most of it and followed the AT a little further just to see what was there.  Unfortunately, after about a quarter mile, the vegetation seems to take over and in places you start to wonder if the thru hikers found an alternate route.  We turned back, but later took another detour to a water source. Saw this glass angel that someone left – sorry about the quality of the photo, but felt like I needed to include it anyway.

024

And then we prepared for the long hike downward.

I’m so happy to have this hike under my belt.  It was not nearly as difficult as I anticipated, but definitely one that will get your heart pumping.  As usual, the descent took a toll on knees and hips, but after a good night’s sleep, I’m feeling fine.

With the weather in the 80’s, the sun burning bright, I cannot imagine any place I would rather be than on a mountain with JG.  Five hours, over 6 miles, and another perfect day.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Hiking Fun!

What a fun weekend!  The kids were home and we managed not one, but two hikes!  The weather was incredible, the fall colors are peeking out, and the company was the best!

Saturday we went to Gatewood Park and hiked about 4.5 miles around the lake.  The big question of the day was – Where’s the Lake?

Having just been there in May when the lake was full:

003

You can imagine my surprise that this photo was taken from around the same spot.

DSCN6174

No matter, we still had an excellent hike that we all enjoyed.

dscn6182.jpg

Even this guy.

DSCN6183

While that was fairly easy terrain with limited ups and downs, today’s hike provided a bit more of a challenge.

High Rocks on Sand Mountain, offers a good workout without being too strenuous, AND it’s only 2.7 miles round trip, AND it has views!

025021

DSCN6202

So fun to climb on the rocks to grab the best views, but we also just sat and enjoyed being on the mountain top with no one else around.  We did not meet any other hikers until we were almost back to the parking lot.

DSCN6197

I’m glad these two learned to appreciate hiking while they are young – it took me 50+ years to realize how cool the mountains could be.

2 hikes in 2 days and 0 pain (knees – good, hip – fine, back – no problem) must be the water aerobics.  Can’t wait for next weekend.

026

Channeling the Channels

Trying to plan a hike, weeks in advance, can be challenging.  For one thing, people’s plans can change – but more importantly, you cannot predict the weather that far out.  Today, gathering my working friends who can only hike on the weekend, we were gifted with a perfect fall day.

003

The drive was just under 2 hours, with the last 13 miles on a twisty, winding road that led us to the trail head that would take us to The Channels.

Just a little over 3 miles up, the trail starts out as a gravel road and then splits off to a proper trail.  A little steep at times, but this is definitely doable for almost anyone.  There are a couple of views on the way up, but this one awaits you at the top

004

along with this fire tower,

012

and this deserted shack.

011

But of course, the main attraction is the Channels themselves.  The Channels are sandstone rock formations that create a maze.

026025023019

They are beautiful, and will bring out the inner child in you as you explore each new path and squeal with delight when you realize how cool this place is.  Pictures cannot really capture these intriguing works of art.

After relaxing, exploring and feeding our faces a bit, we descended to another area that is called the “hidden channels.”  They weren’t hidden very well.

031

032

They were also fascinating structures, but this time we were on top of them and able to enjoy the surrounding mountains.

034

Me, with my weekend hikers, Beth, Debbie, and some of you may recognize fellow blogger, LB from Life on the Bike.

We had such a fun day, with the best weather we could possibly hope for, and the companionship of good friends who share a love of hiking.

As a side note:  Two years ago, almost to the day, I did this hike with JG.  Things have changed since then.  For one thing, the parking lot is bigger and fuller – people are beginning to discover this hike.  There is now a lodge, and the trail has been updated with signs (or else we just didn’t notice them before).

It’s definitely worth the trip – my friends rated it 5 stars.  I rate it as a perfect way to spend a fall day.  Thanks for stopping by.

channels