Smart View Loop
Third of three hikes on the day. A simple 3 mile loop.
Buffalo Mountain Summit
First of three hikes today. A quick 1 mile hike up to the highest point in Floyd County. This mountain is unique and has a beautiful bald summit with magnificent views. From far away the mountain's namesake is clear as the mountain resembles the curve of a buffalo's back.
Hazeltop Summit via AT
Tackled the highpoint of Greene County, which is not the summit of Hazeltop, but rather and indistinct point near the summit.
Grayson Highlands State Park - Appalachian and Pine Mountain Loop
Family trip out to Styles Falls. Located on a Methodist Camp (Alta Mons) and open to the public to hike for free. Some days are off limits due to camp. Check their website. This is a pretty easy hike, although rocky in a few areas.
Stony Man Summit
Quick, beautiful hike off of Skyline Drive.
My buddy Chris joined me for a trip up this classic Virginia mountain just before he moved to the cornfields of Indiana. The mountain did not disappoint. As we made our way off the road to the upper parking lot trailhead (you cannot park here any longer), we were greeted by a baby black bear. We kept an eye out for mama, but she never showed. Baby bear was inquisitive and a little bit stubborn. He sat right off of trailhead, not budging and inch. After several minutes of staring at each other, we scared him off with some loud banging. The adventure was not over. We hiked up to approximately 2400' elevation, where there is a small camping plot (not much room at all). We set up hammocks and still had a good amount of daylight left. We dropped our packs and headed to the top to grab some dinner and catch the sunset. Not a quarter mile of the way down, two larger black bears crashed down the mountain, about 30 yards away, heading straight for our campsite. Oh well, we decided we would survey the damage to our packs later if there was any. The scramble up Old Rag is top notch and difficult at points, but we made it. We fixed dinner, enjoyed the view and started back to our campsite, stopping for a gaze at the numerous stars out on the new moon. We made it back to the campsite and thankfully the bears had done no damage. We stashed our packs away from the campsite and settled into our "bear tacos." I slowly rocked to sleep. Sometime after midnight, Chris awoke me and said he heard something. After a few minutes of pointing flashlights into the dark void, we saw a flashlight ourselves. It was our neighbor in the other campsite out for some nighttime relief. Back to bed, then it was my turn to wake at 3:30am. Crack. Chris, wake up, I just heard something. I flashed my light again into the dark, then I'm out of my hammock in a flash with Leatherman in hand. Two brightly lit eyes, waist high are staring back at me only 30 yards away. The eyes froze, looking intently at me. After a little bit of telling the bear to mosey on away, the creature did just that. I can't be sure if it was a deer or a bear, but with the three sightings already, I wasn't taking any chances. The rest of the night was without incident, although little more sleep was had. We went back down in the morning and went for breakfast at Thorton River Grille in Sperryville, Va. Gourmet food at a really good price.
Nelson Rocks Canopy Zipline Tour
For my birthday, my wife took me out to the Nelson Rocks Canopy Zipline Tour. There are 12 ziplines through the trees, 3 sky bridges, and a 40 foot repel out of a tree. We had a great time.