From Fungi to Webs

Last week I was all about the funky fungi.  Today’s hike in the mist of the foggy morning, was filled with the most striking spider webs.  I could not resist stopping, to try and capture their images to share with you.

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On a part of the Appalachian Trail that offered no mountain view, it was fun to just enjoy the trail and the natural surroundings.

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An annual Father/Daughter camping trip between JG and our one and only, was moved to a cabin due to the weather, so I got to join in for part of the trip.  (I don’t camp, but I do cabin.)  They had their bonding time on Friday, hiked all day Saturday and I joined them Saturday night and got to do a small hike with them this morning.  It was so fun to be in the woods with these two.

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Looks like hiking in rain/drizzle/fog/mist, is becoming a regular thing.  No problem!

 

Isn’t Nature Wonderful

I always say I’m not a nature person, but today I discovered so many beautiful things as we were hiking along that I just had to keep stopping to take pictures.

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The way the sun beam was shining on the damp leaves,

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and catching the spider webs.

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Or the macaroni looking fungus,

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and the early onset of fall colors.

We had a lovely 5 1/2 hours in the Forest without meeting a single soul.  I wonder if that had something to do with the fact that we had thundershowers?

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We had some heavy rains already this week, so the dam was flowing, creek crossings were challenging, but the view was still awesome.

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We were about a third of the way down when the rain came.  This time we were prepared. After getting caught in the rain last week, we purchased some rain ponchos and got to break them in today.

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By the way, check out those fungi!!!

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Incredible, right?

Once we made it back to the car and changed into dry clothes, the sun came out.  So we decided to drive across the river to get a view of where we had just been.

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Yes, we were on the top of that mountain, right under the power line.

Here’s how I have changed since I started hiking:

  • I now appreciate nature (not the bugs, but definitely the plants)
  • I’m no longer afraid of heights (I still have great respect for them though)
  • I am no longer hesitant crossing creeks
  • After a long challenging hike, I start thinking about doing it again

And last, but far from least:

I’ve found something that JG and I both love to do, and what a great way to spend our time together!!

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Makes you all want to visit Southwest Virginia, doesn’t it?

A Hike for Everyone

The old me used to only see a great mountain view if I could drive to the top of the mountain.  Now, I am happiest when I can “earn” it by hiking to the top.  I think everyone should be able to enjoy that spectacular view, so today I found myself leading an unlikely crew, to what I consider an easy hike for the best reward around.  Of course, I’m talking about Buffalo Mountain, where I’ve been many times.  But today, my hikers included one complete novice, Liz

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Another, somewhat newbie, who has only been on one previous hike with me, Patti

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A seasoned hiker from out West, who has been looking for someone to hike with since she moved to the area, Patty

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And my longtime, faithful hiker, Peggy

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Together we enjoyed a beautiful fall day and had the top of the mountain all to ourselves!  We were mostly strangers to each other, I knew Patti and Peggy, Peggy knew Patty, none of us knew Liz.  But by the end of the day we were old friends enjoying an outing together and encouraging each other as we slowly made our way to the top.  And even though there was a little haze in the air, they all agreed that the view was remarkable,

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and that hiking, in a group, is just the best!

 

Happy Reunion

Tucked away in hills of Southwest Virgina, is a little gem hike known as The Channels.  This was my third trip out there, but a first time adventure for my Weekday Warriors.

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We have not hiked together all summer.  We took the summer off because of travels, heat, and bugs.  But now the fall weather has arrived and we had the most incredible day!  Blue skies, good friends, and the most amazing rock formations.

The Channels are 400 million year old sandstone outcroppings.  It’s probably best if I just show you.

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When you arrive at the top of the trail, you only need look for the signature fire tower to know you are heading in the right direction.

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Not everyone is aware that there is a fantastic view and a chance to stand on top of another group of rock formations, just to the left of the main hike.  We were happy to have this spot to ourselves while we enjoyed lunch together in the sun.

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There’s also a bit of a view if you are willing to climb up a sandy and somewhat slippery boulder.

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It’s always fun to take hikers to a place I’ve been before.  I get to see it anew through them.  We spent an hour exploring everything, it was a full day, and we all went home tired, but happy.

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I’m just glad to be back out on the trails with my hiking buddies.  They are the best!!

 

Hiking Heaven

JG and I just spent the most wonderful week of hiking in the Pisgah National Forest.  Located just south of Asheville, NC this area has a little something for everyone – hikers, bikers, fishermen, swimmers, as long as you enjoy the outdoors, you will have a good time here.

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We made our base in the quaint town of Hendersonville, a town of 13,000 but feels like a real city with over 130 restaurants and a downtown filled with delightful shops.  The first thing we noticed were the bears – no not the ones you find in the forest, but the bear art that is everywhere downtown.

This has become a retirement community for very active seniors, we saw a lot of white hair on the trails.  But there were plenty of young families out too.

First day of hiking was to Dupont Forest where the waterfalls were the main attraction.

Of course if you want a view and you don’t want to put much effort into it – Jump Off Rock is the place to go.

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Day 2 we headed to Flat Rock and hiked the trails around the Carl Sandburg Home.

The view was blocked by the trees, but we did see some wild turkeys.

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A quick trip to Brevard, yielded a glimpse at a white squirrel (which I had never before seen).

Okay that last shot is just me being silly.

Also saw these sites while walking around downtown Brevard.

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The last day, we did our most challenging hike to John’s Rock – located near a fish hatchery, this is named for all the workers who helped build parks for the CCC during the Roosevelt administration.

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Walking through what is considered a rain forest, and crossing the creek on log bridges, IMG_20180712_094133IMG_20180712_093830 you arrive on top of the world.

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Our timing could have been better, because as soon as we got to the top, we could see some weather headed our way.

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And, sure enough, we ended up walking the 1.7 miles back down in the rain.  We had towels and clean clothes in the car, it was a warm day, and we actually ended up enjoying it.

Life is always an adventure with this guy by my side.

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Shhh, it’s a secret. . .

One of the things I like best about hiking, is the peacefulness of being in the forest.  Nothing can ruin a hike quicker for me than to meet a fellow hiker with a boom box (yes, this has happened).  I’m not crazy about crowds when I’m seeking solitude.  So I was delighted to discover a little known hike, with an amazing view; not a single fellow hiker in sight; (other than JG) and, it required almost no effort to walk to the rocky ledge.

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It did, however, require long pants.  This trail is not well traveled so you do have to sift through some thickets.

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Can you spot my companion?

It was a little on the hazy side today, but the view was still incredible.

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That’s JG with his signature drink.

We originally planned a longer hike, but on Monday, JG thought it would be fun for us to learn Pickleball.  Let’s just say, it was a little more strenuous than we anticipated and one of us pulled a muscle (JG) and was not sure how far he could hike.

We enjoyed our time up there.  I’m not going to tell you where it is because I don’t want it to become another McAfee’s Knob.  (Actually, there is little chance of that since it requires a 3.3 mile drive down a narrow, gravel road.) But, still.

Now it’s off to celebrate our National Holiday.  Even though I’m not feeling a lot of patriotism these days, I’ll take any excuse to hang out with friends.  I’ll leave you with this one last view of my mystery hike.

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Hope you all had a fun day!

Biking, Hiking, and World Cup

This weekend our little town hosted Bike Virginia.  I put my bike away about 10 years ago (after an unfortunate spill) and have not looked back.  But JG still rides frequently, so we decided to stroll down to the park and have a look.

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Interesting use of our soccer goals. . .

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Oh well, I guess if they were soccer fans they would have been inside watching the fantastic comeback of Germany in the 2nd round of the World Cup.  What a game!  JG was ecstatic!  If they don’t win Wednesday, I’m going to root for Mexico, our closest neighbor who is doing pretty well so far.

After not hiking one single mile in the month of June (here it is the 24th already), JG and I finally got out there today for a quick hike on a previously ignored trail at Mill Creek.  It was so green and so beautiful and I think I discovered a place to take my novice hikers.  This 3 mile loop was quite easy with just a little incline here and there.  I think it might be a trail for mountain bikers.  I proved to be a true hiker today, having enjoyed the walk through the forest with no view!  Other than the forest and the creek that is.

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Lookout, Babe!

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Thanks to a few showers this weekend, the air was mostly cool and the sun was shining brightly!

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Back home we watched Poland lose to Columbia (boy Columbia had a lot of fans there).  Any soccer fans out there?  If so, who are you rooting for?

Hope you all got outside this weekend, Summer Solstice for us means the daylight will be lessening.

Happy Hiking – Biking – and World Cup to you all!

Thanks for visiting!