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) 

Grayson Highlands

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.

Stepping Down

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:

Hello Tennessee

Just a couple scenes of Watauga Lake from different elevations.

More to come from Tennessee.

Thanks for listening.

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Comments 5

  • Wolfed : Sep 25th

    You are out there doing what I always thought I would do one day. I may yet, but the things I believe I need to do it are not yet in place. Perhaps they may never be. I supposed I always envisioned a life where you would have enough time to do everything that became of interest to you. For the person that has many interests though, it becomes clear there simply isnt enough time to do it all.
    Thank you for your insights and descriptions.

  • Pat : Sep 25th

    Grayson Highlands are added to the list of future section hikes. Love the observation about the bow hunter. Walk on!

  • Nina : Sep 25th

    Damascus is one of my favorite places.

  • John Michael Woodrum : Sep 25th

    Thanks for the AT info. My first AT hike is coming up in March next year and all the info I can get is appreciated. Happy trails and thanks again.

  • Dough Boi : Sep 26th

    I like to think Uncle Nick is now somewhere in Heaven, gently suffering alone


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