First Day Hike

For the past few years, the state parks in Virginia have been hosting a “First Day Hike” challenging people to come out and hike on January 1st.  While we have done a couple of hikes at our own Claytor Lake, we decided to start off the new year with a hike at Hungry Mother.

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Located just an hour away in Marion, we decided to spend New Year’s Eve there in our favorite downtown hotel.  There a lots of fun bars/restaurants in the area, including a very nice one located in the hotel.  So off we went with thoughts of fine dining and partying without having to go outside (it was about 10 degrees).  As we pulled up in front of the hotel, we got quite a shock looking into the windows of an empty restaurant.  We discovered that 90% of the town is closed on Sunday!!!  What??!!  Okay, a normal Sunday maybe, but this was NEW YEAR’s EVE!!!

After a small tantrum and a few cuss words, we realized there was nothing we could do about it.  So instead of dressing up, we just hit the two places that were open and made the best of it.

 

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The sun beamed in our window around 7:30 and gave us hope that it would warm up for our hike.  Ha!  Mother Nature laughed at that idea.  When we arrived at Hungry Mother, it was 14 degrees (F) -10 (C)!  The lake was frozen, snow flurries were in the air, a pretty steady wind was blowing, but we ignored it all and off we went.

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This place is beautiful all year round.  Even the dead rhododendron was pretty in its own way.

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The original plan was to hike the 6 mile Lake Trail, but we modified that plan for the weather and ended up doing a 2.5 mile loop combo of the Lake trail and the CCC trail.  Believe me that was plenty.

What an exhilarating way to start the new year!  I hope you all had a great “first day” too!

17 thoughts on “First Day Hike

  1. -10 C?! That’s cold! But your photos are stunning. Good for you in making the best of the only two places open…and continuing with your hike (when many others would have stayed indoors). I look forward to continuing to follow your hikes in 2018!

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  2. In small towns, I’ve often had unexpected experiences like that. The idea was brilliant, but too bad the rest of the world wasn’t on board 🙂

    The hike might have been short, but it looked special. You started the year off doing something you really enjoyed – sounds perfect to me, and the winter wonderland you discovered looks beautiful.

    It was painfully cold here too, but we ventured out for a short walk along the waterfront and a bit of outdoor skating. We had a windchill of about -17C, but it started snowing while we were skating and it felt so special. It was a perfect way to start a new year!

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  3. Happy New Year Karen! ‘The Hungry Mother’ ! I wonder what the story is behind that name? Bummer for the town all rolled up for New Years, that’s pretty unexpected. Thank goodness something was open.
    Bravo for getting out on your hike. -10C seems perfect for hiking since I get pretty hot doing any physical activity LOL….but the wind is always the killer. Loved the photo of the leaves frozen in ice. Cheers! xK

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    1. Thanks, Happy New Year to you too! Here’s the story of Hungry Mother:
      The Legend of Hungry Mother

      Legend has it that when the Native Americans destroyed several settlements on the New River south of the park, Molly Marley and her small child were among the survivors taken to the raiders’ base north of the park. They eventually escaped, wandering through the wilderness eating berries. Molly finally collapsed, and her child wandered down a creek until the child found help. The only words the child could utter were “Hungry Mother.” The search party arrived at the foot of the mountain where Molly collapsed to find the child’s mother dead. Today that mountain is Molly’s Knob, and the stream is Hungry Mother Creek.

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