100+ miles of the Appalachian and Virginia Creeper Trails


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.

DSCN1529

Watagua lake seen from the AT

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.

DSCN1539DSCN1538DSCN1556DSCN1548DSCN1551DSCN1547DSCN1559DSCN1558DSCN1555DSCN1570DSCN1569DSCN1573DSCN1572DSCN1571

 

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:

DSCN1560DSCN1565DSCN1562DSCN1563

DSCN1564

Greeting the sun outside my wenzel tent

The next section covers from Grayson Highlands State Park to Atkins Virginia

DSCN1581

started out cold at Grayson Highlands State Park

DSCN1582

DSCN1583

view makes you feel as if you are hiking on the roof of the world or at least virginia

DSCN1588

thank you fellow hiker “sunrise” for taking this photo

DSCN1589

DSCN1590

wild ponies in the park

DSCN1591DSCN1595DSCN1596DSCN1567

DSCN1597

highest mt in the background is whitetop where i camped days before

DSCN1598

DSCN1600

comers creek falls 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

DSCN1616DSCN1615DSCN1620DSCN1608DSCN1611DSCN1612DSCN1622DSCN1623DSCN1613

 

 

Advertisements

Laurel Run Falls Hike


This is a fun trail and a good training one you can connect into the Bays Mt trail and hike 15 miles on it but I didn’t do that today. I am proud because it is steep 1200′ elev gain in 1 mile, rocky, roots, and stream crossings so its good for people who want to gain more experience hiking and you get to see a couple of little waterfalls along the way. Laurel Run Park is very nice the staff are friendly and put a huge amount of effort into trail maintenance the past year and drainage, trail width and surface, and blaze and trail signage are awesome. It is like hiking a trail now in previous years it was wet enough to be like hiking up a creek lol.

Here is the little falls water levels were very low.

And my meditation spot at the end and the Holston R. where Lauren Run flows into. The park has picnic areas ballfields disc golf and fishing along the Holston.

 

Bay’s Mountain TN Fire Tower Trail


First of all let me apologize for the long delay in posting to my blog. My brother was injured severely with crush injuries to his lower legs and will be wheelchair bound for several more months so as primary care giver I haven’t been able to get ¬†out as much.

This was an amazing hike and it started with one of the most awesome things I have ever experienced. The park has a resident wolf pack which has the run of a section of the park. I always stop by and see them before hitting the trails. This morning the whole pack set up to howl as I was stopping by. If you have never been within 20 feet of an entire pack when they howl movies and nature shows do not come close it is so deep and loud the sound vibrates through your whole body you can feel it in your bones. It echoed all the way up the mountain as I was hiking and I could still here it when I reached the top 2.6 miles away no better music to hike too.

Here are some pics from the start of the trail:

DSCN0751

DSCN0752

DSCN0749

The little stream I followed and 2 of the 6 wild turkeys I saw. Below are some of the 5 deer I saw along the trail.

At the top is a fire tower which is 60 feet high at an elevation of 2300 feet and built in 1937 by the CCC. I had a picnic lunch at the top of the trail and was joined by this deer and her friend.

Here is the fire tower and some views from it of Kingsport TN and the Holston Army Ammunition Arsenal which owns the back half of the mountain and has tunnels running deep into it.

DSCN0760

And last one of my favorite spots it is near the end of the trail and is the perfect spot for rest after a hike or just some quiet meditation. One of things I enjoy about trail hiking is how polite people are with trail etiquette and how different is from passing someone on the sidewalk in a city where we tend to ignore strangers and stay in our little bubbles. Its natural to talk about the trail the weather or what wildlife you have seen and engage people in real conversation. When the vaneer of civilization is left behind the reality is pretty nice I think what scares people about being out in nature away from civilization is that somewhere deep inside the realize that is where they belong and this false society of cities we have built is fake.

DSCN0774

Fall Colors Hike


Early morning hike on a drizzly day to get some pics of the fall colors in the mountains of northeast Tennessee.

Start of the trail.

DSCN0579

Seriously who wouldn’t love to hike this trail.

DSCN0587

Fall Colors along the lake shore.

DSCN0570 DSCN0577 DSCN0574 DSCN0572 DSCN0583 DSCN0580

I love the colors along with the deep blue of the water and against the green of the hemlocks.

DSCN0590 DSCN0575

so pretty and peaceful perfect meditation trail.

DSCN0592

Across the beaver pond on another of the floating bridges on the trail.

DSCN0594DSCN0596

Even the little trees and plants were decked out in fall colors.

DSCN0598 DSCN0586 DSCN0578

The leaves were the star of the show.

DSCN0582

Woods all shining in green and gold.

DSCN0584 DSCN0593

Mother Nature is the true creative artist as photographers we just record her art.

DSCN0589

Last shot from the trail and the sleepy wolf pack.

DSCN0599 DSCN0564

A Walk In The Woods


A walk along the lake shore and the woods. The fall colors are starting to show so it inspired me to get out and take a lil walk.

DSCN0558 DSCN0559

Along the lake.

DSCN0542 DSCN0543 DSCN0545

Deeper in the woods. Its hard to see in this pick but this tree is huge the first limb to the right is almost 8 feet around.

DSCN0548

Sometimes you find odd scenes deep in old woods like this square cut piece of stone. Like an old cold stone altar unwarmed by the bright sun all around it.

DSCN0550

Odd twisted vines and stumps of trees were around it. The biggest strand of vines looked like a giant spider striding through a forest.

DSCN0552DSCN0551