It may have taken all summer, but yesterday we achieved our goal of hiking the entire (57.7 miles) New River Trail!
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?
The final leg took us to the trail end (or beginning, depending on where you live) in Galax, VA at mile marker 51.
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.
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!
In order to get the perfect shot – JG walked down a path and climbed on a couple of rocks.
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.
Each section had its own uniqueness and there were just a couple of spots that we thought were a little boring.
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!!
Such a wonderful resource, please come enjoy it with me sometime!