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