Virginia Is For Lovers

Grayson Highlands State Park

Hello June! I swear this year is just flying by. So far 2014 has already proven to be full of changes, surprises and new opportunities. We just closed on our new home, I’m starting a new business venture and I am looking forward to completing many other projects that I have been putting off. Even with all of the craziness, we’ve been lucky to take some time out to spend with loved ones and to get out in nature and away from the hustle and bustle.
Last week we spent a few days camping in Virginia. The tourism slogan that “Virginia is for Lovers” holds true. The mountains are so beautiful and is the perfect place to spend with your loved ones.

Grayson Highlands State Park

Driving along the winding roads with the windows down breathing in the fresh mountain air, hearing the birds chirp and the wind rustle through the leaves, it sure is peaceful. We had no cell service so we were totally disconnected from the world for just a few days.

Grayson Highlands State Park

Without the help of our smart phones and GPS, we got lost briefly and didn’t make it to our campsite until about 9pm. My parents were meeting us there, so thankfully they had already setup camp and had a nice roaring campfire when we arrived. After spending some time catching up we went to bed to rest up for our long hike the next morning to the highest point in Virginia.
Here is the before pictures of our hike. Note: I am smiling, standing on my own and Finley is dry and clean.

Massie Gap, Mount Rogers, Grayson Highlands Virginia
Mount Rogers

Along the way we saw wild ponies, walked along rocky paths, and experienced such diverse scenery as we made our way to the highest point. The hike started with a wide open field and further along the trail there are some rock scrambles. Once you are almost to the top it becomes a sort of rain forest.

Wild Ponies Grayson Highlandswild_ponies2Wild Ponies Grayson Highlands

I’m proud to say that my little pom, Finley is a full-fledged mountain dog. He trotted along on the almost 10 mile hike through the mountains up to the highest point in Virginia, jumping from rock to rock like a mountain goat.
He sure surprised me and walked the entire trail on his own. I on the other hand, didn’t fare so well and was slowed down by blistered toes, and pain in my hip flexors from all the up and down. (Note to self: do more yoga!). I pushed through the pain and made it all the way to the top and back down again -just barely.

Dog Mountain Hike

We got rained on a few times, trekked through mud, up some steep rocks, and at times wind, but it was all worth it. At the top it seemed like something you’d see in a fantasy movie set. Mist and fog floating in the air, with exposed roots, rocks and tree trunks jutting out of the earth in an other-worldly manner. It was truly a site to see.
Here is an after the hike picture. Note: My inability to stand up on my own because of my hip pain, Finley is muddy and wet and Brian looks about the same as before. :-P

After Mount Rogers Hike

Back at camp we ate dinner and enjoyed the campfire before heading off for a much needed night of rest. As sure as the first light of morning came, the birds would come alive and chirp, whistle and call to one another. We had a nice hearty breakfast and enjoyed coffee around the campfire. Being so sore from our 10 mile hike, we decided to take it easy the next day and found a nice peaceful spot next to the New River to have a picnic and relax.

New RiverNew RiverFishing New River

The next morning was time to break camp, pack up and head home. Driving down the mountain we had the windows open to take in the fresh air and sounds of nature one last time before returning to the interstate and real world. I don’t think it will be too long before we return for a visit.

virginia_mountains

“The mountains are calling and I must go”. – John Muir