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!

 

Sunday, Funday

Most of our Sundays are spent exploring.  We love finding back roads and getting lost.  Often times we are on a mission to find trail heads, or maybe just looking for interesting roadside attractions, like this one that we found this morning.

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Today, we were looking for an AT (Appalachian Trail) entrance for a hike to Kelly’s Knob.  We also came prepared to hike said trail, having read that it was an easy 4 mile out and back with just 500 ft. elevation gain.  What they failed to mention, was that that 500 ft. gain happens all at once!

Up, and up, and up, we went, until it finally leveled off and gave us some relief.  We met a lot of AT hikers, it’s about that time that through hikers are reaching Virginia.  After about an hour we reached our destination.

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The view was mostly blocked by the trees, but we got a glimpse of the ridges beyond.

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And a solid place for a rest and a snack.

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I was intrigued by this tree, it had a haunted quality to it.

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And the flowers were quite special.

Good hike, no snakes, perfect weather, and I feel great!  Dare I say (i’m back)?  Don’t want to jinx it.

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How do you spend your Sundays?

Hiking Buffalo Mountain

It’s fun to see this hike from fresh eyes, enjoy LB’s blog and learn more about this fun day.

Life on the Bike and other Fab Things

Thank goodness for friends who encourage you to add fun to the calendar, and Karen, from The Unassuming Hiker makes sure that we do.

A couple years ago, Karen started a hiking club for women of all ages and hiking abilities, and while the group often ventures out during the week, Karen makes sure to plan a weekend hike several times yearly for those not retired.   In addition, she schedules the date for those hikes several weeks in advance so that we make sure to set aside the time.

“Buffalo Mountain is one of the most significant natural areas in Virginia.  The combination of high-elevation (3,971 feet), wind-exposed openings at the summit, and magnesium rich soils make it unlike any place else in the Commonwealth”.

Karen suggested that we arrive early knowing that it would not be long before the trail became crowded.  The image below is the parking area…

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A Strenuous Hike

Last night I had this brilliant idea that JG and I should get up early (4 ish) and go for an early morning hike – maybe even catch the sunrise.  He reluctantly agreed.  I woke up at 3:50 a.m. and decided to lay there just a little longer – which turned out to be 4:45. Okay, we might not see the sunrise on top of a mountain, but it’s still early enough to beat the crowds.

We decided on Peaks of OtterSharp Top.  This is a hike I had not tried, however, I have hiked it’s twin – Flat Top twice.  As we headed down the Interstate, we saw the fog interfere with the sunrise.

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We arrived as the first wave of early morning hikers were about to leave the parking lot.  I had not attempted this hike before because even though it is only 3 miles round trip, it is very steep, rocky, and every book has it listed as “strenuous.”  But today I was feeling frisky and while it was a major “huff and puff” going up, we made it.

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It was quite humid, so we are pretty much soaked by the time we reach the top. Even though it was a bit hazy, it was a very rewarding vista.

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It was a wonderful way to celebrate our nation’s birth.  I haven’t been such a proud American lately, at least not politically.  But the mountains remind me that there is so much more to this great country of ours than a few bad seeds in Washington.

Now I am completely exhausted and achy, so I plan to spend the rest of the day with my feet propped up.  Hope you all are having a good day!

Revisiting my Happy Place

As many know, Hungry Mother State Park is my favorite place in Southwest Virginia.  I’m pretty sure I have been on every trail there, as well as kayaked across the entire lake, and on occasion have rented their cabins.  Not to mention the many times I’ve written about it and shared pictures.

When it is 75 degrees, sunny with a cool breeze and low humidity – it seems pretty natural that a hike is in order, especially since my body is in pretty good shape (at the moment).  And, since it is only an hour away. . .

 

We hiked about 8 miles – including going to Molly’s Knob which I have only done once before because it is kind of steep.

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But we made it. . .

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And there were some very nice people up there who offered to take our picture.

We ended up walking much further than we had planned, mostly because it was a beautiful day and we had nothing to do that couldn’t wait until tomorrow.

While uphill takes the wind out of me, downhill can be downright painful, so I slipped on my knee brace before heading down to the lake level.

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As we were about to cross the dam on the way back to our parking lot, we were treated to this lovely site of a mother duck and her babies.

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Such a great park!  Do you have a favorite place that you like to visit frequently?