Virginia – back to the mountains
The passing over into Virginia has brought the return of the epic mountain views that I experienced in the north. I again get to stand on top of a mountain I have climbed, and gaze at endless green views, which has been great.
First up in Virginia was the “rollercoaster”, a full day of continuous ups and downs. My legs definitely got a bit of a refresher of how proper hills work!
Then it was on to Shenandoah National Park. The autumn colours were at their peak during this period. The park itself was full of “leaf-peepers”, the nickname for the people who come to this area at this time of year, and I can definitely understand why it is so popular. The park is full of lots of facilities so I also got to enjoy various cafes and restaurants during this period. I had one of the famous blackberry milkshakes, which was delicious.
The Blue Ridge
Next up was the Blue Ridge parkway, where the trail crisscrosses the parkway on a ridge with epic views to both sides. Most of the leaves were gone off the trees by this point, so the ground cover was pretty high in some places. This was a bit of a hazard at times, as I couldn’t see exactly what I was stepping on under the piles of leaves. On a particularly wet morning, this led to me falling four times, but luckily no serious injuries. I also experienced my windiest night during this period. This, together with a lot of rain, meant my tent got a bit flooded. Luckily there was a hostel nearby and I could dry all my things out before continuing. There was also a late season burst of heat, so I got to enjoy what is likely my last tshirt and shorts hiking weather.
The cold arrives
Since then, there has been more rain and the start of freezing temperatures. I’m told it is unusual for it to be so cold for this time of year in Virginia, and it is definitely not something I had planned on. This has meant some unplanned “zero” days off trail while I wait for the worst of it to pass, as well as some fairly sleepless nights in my tent. While it is annoying to have the weather dictate hiking days, there isn’t much to be done about it.
I have got to spend my off-trail days in fun hiker hostels with some of my cool fellow SOBOs, which has been great. It is a hiking adventure, but so much of this trip has been the people, so spending some quality time with awesome people is always a good time. Now I just need it to warm up so I don’t freeze at night and can get through this next section!
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