So I started my Hiking season this year with plan to do a section of the Appalachian Trail and nearby connecting trails starting in Tennessee and heading up thru Virginia. Its been a wonderful experience so far I have enjoyed the beauty of the trail, hearing coyotes and screech owls, and seeing deer, and the wild ponies in Grayson Highlands State Park. I have enjoyed overcoming the physical and mental challenges of the trail and finding that I could accomplish and push myself far more than I ever thought. I have really been thrilled by how close knit the hiking community is and how we all look after and encourage each other and meeting people from all over the USA as well as Germany, France, England, Scotland, and Canada. Below are some photos from the first hundred miles. First is overlooking Watagua lake from the AT one of the prettiest views I had on the trail was sunrise from high above the lake. Fog completely covered the lake below but along the shore you could see the lights from the marinas along the shore it was a magical moment.
Next is Damascus Virginia and shots from along the Virginia Creeper Rails to Trails Hiking Path (the virginia creeper is a flowering vine but the trail takes its name from the railroad because it took so long for the train to creep over the mountains from North Carolina it was named the virginia creeper) The trail runs 34 miles from Abingdon to Mt Rogers Station in Virginia. I hiked mostly between Damascus and Mt Rogers Station. The trail is amazingly beautiful running alongside Laurel Creek and crossing it numerous times on the old railroad trestles. It is wooded at first then gives way to more open farmland and has some historic stations one is converted to a great cafe and the other at Green Cove Station is a museum.
The next few scenes are from the hike up and over White Top Mountain which I did on a windy cold and foggy day it was surreal and an amazing experience camping at the top at over 5000 feet and waking to a clear sunrise after hearing the coyotes howling in the night:
The next section covers from Grayson Highlands State Park to Atkins Virginia
had to get off trail for a few days to nurse an injured ankle following are pics from Laurel Run Park in Churchhill tennessee where i did a test hike to make sure am ready to get back on trail beautiful park with views waterfalls