So, after that marathon (for me) saga of Mary’s Rock a couple of weeks ago, I decided I should do something shorter. I had planned on hiking this last week, but of course Sandy had other plans, and I had to stay home. That gave me some extra time to recover and plan.
I decided to go on a Tuesday this week, because I was a little worried that the Nor’easter was going to drop some snow on the area (completely didn’t happen, but better to be safe than sorry!) and it was a beautiful, clear, and rather chilly and blustery day.
This is my second time hiking a portion of the AT, and the first one where the focus of the hike is that particular trail. It has a reputation for being called the “roller coaster” in the Virginia portion, and after this hike, I can definitely see why. This hike was a bit of a roller coaster in miniature, as it wound its way up and over a couple of hills before coming up to Raven Rocks.
It starts out as a little path coming off a parking lot on Pine Grove Road, at the intersection of the Leesburg Pike. Up and down it goes, over wrinkles of hills, down into little stream valleys that had trickles of water flowing. The second stream, I never actually saw but only heard, as it burbled under my feet. It was around this valley that I saw my first AT Survey Marker, which are used to mark the right of way of the trail and as reference points.
One thing that is somewhat easy to forget, but was actually also a fairly constant reminder, is just how well traveled this trail is. I only actually saw one other hiker this day, but every time I put a hand out to steady myself on a tree branch, I could feel a smoothed down feeling. It reminded me of the railings at Disneyland, and also really spoke to just how many people travel on this trail. The occasional bits of debris and garbage are of course another reminder, and I picked up what I ran across.
I didn’t take a lot of pictures this day, I am not really sure why. I was feeling a little less motivated about my photography skills than I have been. I’ve been trying to read about how to take better photographs, but it often seems like I’m unable to put those things into practice. I think I sometimes get distracted by the fitness aspect of my hiking, and forget to take time to stop and look at things better. I need to remember that, although I am trying to lose weight, I also am hiking to enjoy the hike, and that the purpose is to get out of doors and enjoy it.
Somewhere along the way, I ended up losing my hat. I was silly and only half shoved it into the pocket of my jacket after going uphill and becoming too hot.
Continuing on, I crossed the border into West Virginia, and then a little further and up to the Rocks, which are definitely a place that is well and often visited. There was a splendid view towards the south, with a teensy bit of color left in the trees. I marveled at having such a good phone signal, which is rare, and then looked behind me.
One can never truly escape technology anymore, it seems.
Back I went, headed towards home. I did find my hat, at least.
|More Pictures of Appalachian Trail – Raven Rocks|