I drafted this post yesterday but somehow it got lost in the ether, so here it is a day late…
April 27th is my one month anniversary on the trail and I celebrated that milestone at the Wise Shelter which is at mile 500.0 on the trail. It was a good day of hiking in marginal weather. It was cool, windy and cloudy with some light rain but the clouds stayed up high so I got good views at Whitetop Mountain, Mount Rogers and at Grayson Highlands. If you have not yet visited this area of Virginia, I highly recommend it but be sure to visit when the weather is warm and the forecast is for clear skies.
On Mount Rogers I saw my first wild ponies and then took the side trail to the summit, which is the highest point in Virginia at 5,729 feet (see photos).
At Grayson Highlands I saw more ponies and the beautiful rock formations that surround the trail through the highlands. My friend Pig Pen is a rock climber and he’ll love bouldering some of these rocks when he hikes through this area.
I made it to Wise Shelter by 5:00 p.m. and hustled to get my tent set up before the rain came. I just barely made it and was falling asleep to the sound of raindrops hitting the tent by 6:00.
My first month on the trail has been fantastic. I’ve seen beautiful sights, met many interesting people, faced some significant challenges, and made good progress towards achieving my goal of hiking to Maine. I had some great off-trail experiences too – Easter with my Dad and Marilyn in Blue Ridge, GA and the surprise anniversary trip to Florida with the Princess.
I have a lot to be thankful for…