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.
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,
appreciate the beauty of the cobwebs,
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.
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.
The rocks provided a perfect place for a rest and a snack.
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.
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.