Fairwell to Virginia
A Parting Gift
It seems like I’ve been in Virginia forever. That’s not a bad thing; Virginia obviously has a lot to offer. On the way out, Virginia provided one final gift in the way of Grayson Highlands.
It seems we hadn’t been in Tennessee but a few minutes when we passed a bow-hunter. Spokes commented that he was so good looking, and since we’re in Tennessee, he must be a country singer. I couldn’t dispute it.
Day 121 – Fox Creek to Grayson Highlands (19 miles)
Day 122 – Grayson Highlands to Damascus (23 miles)
Day 123 – Damascus to Low Gap (14 miles)
Day 124 – Low Gap to Stealth Site (20 miles)
We see a lot of cool stuff along the trail, but a typical day generally involves a lot of up and down through forests, as the Appalachians are a mountain range. The Grayson Highlands are different; this area is known as a bald, or treeless area surrounded by forest on a mountain summit.
The vegetation is different, and the animal life is different. We were looking forward to seeing the wild ponies that the area is known for. On the way in, we saw remnants – that is, ponies do what ponies doo. Better watch your step.
Eventually, we did encounter some friendly ponies. That’s Sideways behind me.
We also saw some real cowboys, with border collies.
I guess the cowboys were checking on the longhorn cattle… yes, longhorn cattle, that graze on the highland grass. They’re pretty intimidating, but I’m told they’re very docile.
Some additional scenes from the highlands.
Eventually we had to leave the Grayson Highlands. As we climbed down down to lower elevations, we headed for the town of Damascus. This is the final town heading south in Virginia.
On the way, we came across this memorial to a local hermit. Uncle Nick Grinestaff passed away in 1923. The epitaph reads: “Lived alone, suffered alone, died alone.” I wonder how people have stopped here during the last 100 years. No longer a hermit.
Damascus is a small town but important to the AT, as home of the annual Trail Days Festival. It hosts several hostels and the trail runs through the middle of the town. A couple scenes:
Just a couple scenes of Watauga Lake from different elevations.
More to come from Tennessee.
Thanks for listening.
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