March 24, still not spring!
The hiking weekend to kick off my spring break…ha! The house we rented in Staunton, Virginia is lovely and made a great place to plan out alternative hikes…or as I like to think of them, plan B, C, D…
After the hike at Trimble Mountain, we knew that the chances of Shenandoah National Park being open in the morning were pretty close to ZERO. Throw the maps out on the table and discuss a few possibilities. None of them were as appealing as hiking the AT, which was Plan A. We had already used up Plan B at Trimble Mountain, so we went with Plan C, an out and back on the AT starting at Rockfish Gap. We would hike to McCormick Gap and back…about 7.5 miles. In the deep snow that would be enough!
Yes, a plan! We parked at the old HoJo’s at Rockfish Gap and made our way over to the south entrance and cut-off to the AT where we donned our microspikes and headed up into the woods. Another gorgeous day!
We were lucky several had passed this way before us packing down the snow a bit on the trail. It was still icy, so microspikes had been a good call! We trudged uphill, taking occasional breaks to catch our breath, let the heart rates return to normal, and to generally take in the quiet, snow-laden forest that surrounded us. Until the crow saw us…he chattered non-stop, either saying hello or get the heck out of my territory… not sure which, but he was quite animated!
Then I heard it. The hum, the slap of melted snow runoff on moving tires, Skyline Drive must have been opened. At first one car, then silence. As we neared McCormick Gap, the number of cars on the drive had picked up considerably…the word was out!
We stopped for a break at McCormick Gap and made a decision to continue to Beagle Gap and hitch a ride back to Rockfish for the car. The Hiking Weekend Adventure was in full throttle!
I was excited! Reaching the top of the mountain there are several communication towers and oddly enough, tractor seats. I had seen them many times in pictures and looked forward to breaking there and having a sit-down before descending to Beagle Gap. It was everything I expected and we all took a nice rest in those tractor chairs!
The sun was trying to make its way out of the clouds. Lola pointed out that a rainbow had formed around it. I looked up, and up, and back, and up, and then…oh gawd…I was falling out of the chair! All I could think was, not today, please, not today, the ground is wet, the ground is muddy…no, no, no, this would NOT happen to me today! I struggled to keep myself in the chair by one-arming myself off the ground, believe me, not a particularly ballerina moment in my life! 😀 But ladies and gents, it worked!
I arrived at Beagle Gap, high and dry…AAROOOOO! Hike On!