It’s kind of routine now, I have the great idea for a hike. I talk JG into said hike. I’m excited, he tolerates. Once we are in the woods, he comes alive and is happy that we are there. Towards the end of the hike, he has to give me encouragement to get to the finish. Somewhere along the way, I get tired and my legs start to feel like lead. This was a weekend of hiking fun!
Rock Castle Gorge, located off the Blue Ridge Parkway, has been on my list of must do hikes for some time. Knowing that it is a 10.8 mile loop and hearing that it is strenuous, only made it more appealing to me. I think this would be a great loop to do from May to September. However, given that it is frosty in the morning and the daylight ends quite early, I thought perhaps we should take two cars in case it proved to be too much for one November day.
Genius, that’s what that decision was. All miles not being equal, it took us 3 hours to climb (and we literally climbed) the first 2.5 miles of the loop. From the lower parking lot, you have a 2500 ft. elevation gain. The biggest problem was the leaves. At times we were knee deep in them, and they hide things like rocks, tree roots and other obstacles.
Because of the leaves, and the narrowness of the trail, we found ourselves hugging the mountain as we tried to keep our balance.
So we were grateful to have that second car handy, because after 5 miles of steep and rocky terrain, we realized it was better to do this in two trips.
Even though you can drive to overlooks, the view always seems sweeter when you earn it.
So this is how we spent our Thanksgiving day, it was perfect hiking weather. We later went to visit some friends who fed us turkey leftovers from their big family gathering. (Thanks, Cherie).
When the leaves are covering the path and it is slippery, it seems that it is easier to go uphill rather than risk sliding down. So we went back to the parking area at the foot of the mountain – which by the way was empty on Thursday but not so on Saturday – to finish the loop by hiking upward again.
Obviously we were not the only ones with the idea for this Saturday hike.
This part of the trail follows the creek and was very scenic.
The first part starts out fairly flat for the first couple of miles, and then you begin the ascent. You come to a section where you have to climb over some boulders – yes, it’s part of the trail!
Many creek crossings, a little steep at times, but definitely easier than the first half.
I’m sure if we had tried this in warmer weather with longer daylight hours, it would have been fine, but if you do this after the leaves have fallen, watch your step.
Enjoying the view from Rocky Knob.
We did complete the loop and I can now cross this one off my to do list.
Thanks for visiting.