Sunday, September 23, 2012

Blue RIdge Parkway

Sunday, September 16, 2012:

Today's 20 mile hike was in one of those sections where the AT parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It is never out of sight of it for long, and crosses it, or an overlook or tributary road within view of it, seven times in the 10.4 miles of trail I covered (between Wilson Creek Shelter and Bearwallow Gap).

For me, hiking with a vehicle, this provides a unique opportunity to break my hike up into short little sections, all of them less than 2.5 miles.  I parked in three different places and hiked short legs in both directions from those trail crossing points.

Today's view from Taylor Mountain Overlook
The Parkway provides the clearing for all of the views the trail offered me today.  Since it was cloudy and hazy all day, the views weren't too stunning.  By afternoon the Peaks of Otter, visible to the NE, were shrouded in cloud, so instead of showing you how it looked today, I'm dredging up a photo from my last hike here, last November 3rd.

Sharp Top and Flat Top (left)  from the Harvey's Knob overlook area, 11/3/2011

But my favorite 'view' was the one shown up top, where the trail walks the base of a venerable old stonework retaining wall made of huge shaped boulders.  Some of these individual stones were 8 feet long and three feet high - they must weigh tons and tons.  Yet all are placed with precision along that graceful curve - quite a work of art, if you ask me.

Again today I remembered much of the detail of the trail I walked.  I kind of miss being able to 'discover' new trail - that makes walking every piece of trail a little more interesting.  Still, I had fun today with the little mini-hikes carrying a very light pack (in one case no pack at all).

Rain is coming - two days' worth.  I don't know how much hiking I'll try to squeeze in - really don't like hiking wet, and have no real time pressure.  With three and a half months to hike 670 miles, I can afford to be choosy about the weather.  As always, of course, I'll let you know what I do.


Here's a map of today's route and a link to more great photos:

AT Day 231 - Blue Ridge Parkway at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in Virginia

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