Friday, February 10, 2012

Farewell to Mount Rogers

Today's ramble (Feb. 3rd) topped yesterday's in terms of its sheer vast beauty, both of the scenery and the weather in which it was bathed. I will not soon forget my traverse through the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and environs. Kudos to you, grandest mountain in Virginia. You've done yourself proud.

The irony of it is that I didn't actually climb Mount Rogers. There's no view. You can see from the photo above that it's all wooded on top. But the AT takes you on a grand tour of all the views. I'll shut up here and let you look:

There's more. Many more. But you get the idea.

Today's 18 miles took me through Elk Garden, around the flanks of Mount Rogers and later around the flanks of Whitetop Mountain to Buzzard Rock. I spent quality time in the woods, too, enjoying more of the distinctive high mountain ecosystem of spruce and birch dominated forest that is so unlike the vast majority of woodland the AT passes through in the mid-Atlantic. At right, you see one example: a cozy nook with a set of rock steps lovingly prepared by a dedicated trail builder.

And then there was the 'wildlife' - the ponies that the forest service counts on to maintain the land in its open, pseudo-tundra state. Some are tame enough to approach. I'm sure people feed them, and they love to be scratched under the cheeks.

When it was time to move on, it was tough saying good bye to these gentle creatures, and at the end of the day it was tough saying farewell to Mount Rogers.


Click below for detailed GPS track with many more photos:

AT Day 31 - Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in Virginia

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