Monday, June 7, 2010

Biking and Hiking

Over Memorial Day weekend, (most of) my family and I took a trip to the Grayson Highlands State Park in the large city of Mouth of Wilson, Virginia. What?? You haven't heard of it??? Have you been living under a rock?! Perhaps one of these rocks in this lovely mountain stream, eh?

We tent camped...which is a big change for us since we typically camp with a mansion on wheels - campground-sized. But, for a weekend we thought we could handle the tent camping. I mean, the biggest downside to camping in a tent is that tents have a tendency to leak if it rains, and the weather forecast, at the very most on the three days that we were there, only called for a 30% chance of showers.

But, we stuck out the Saturday afternoon rainstorm underneath my sister's canopy tent and played a game of Old Maid. Guess who was the Old Maid? None other than yours truly. I'm a sore loser, admittedly.
After the monsoon was over, some of us went to hike a 1.8 mile trail (rated difficult, mind you) called the Cabin Creek trail. There were a few slips and falls due to the wet leaves and mud, but nothing serious. I'm happy to say that I did not fall the entire hike, however, I am pretty sure that every time we crossed a stream I picked the wrong rocks to step on and water gushed in through my tennis shoes.

We made it to the falls, took some pictures, and finished out the trail...
When we got back to my dad, brother-in-law Danny, and nieces Lindsay and Lori, we made hot dogs and s'mores over the campfire and called it a night.

(Side note: my dad broke his heel recently and wasn't able to do most of the things with us...otherwise, he definitely would have been with us leading the pack! For the majority of the time he looked like this:Because his heel looks like this:
...just FYI!)

The next day we biked the Virginia Creeper Trail. Well, the ladies and children did, the men stayed back at the campground to attempt to catch some trout. They (and I quote) "caught 4 or 5 trout but went ahead and ate them all for lunch." [TRANSLATION: they caught nothing.] But we did have success biking the 17 miles of the Creeper Trail. Even though at the first pit stop we thought we were about halfway and the map showed we had only done THREE miles. It got much better after that though because the next 14 miles were beautiful and went by in a flash!

(If you enlarge that picture, we were only at the Green Cove station, we started at the Whitetop Station, and ended at the Damascus Caboose station.)
When we got back that evening we set out to do one more hike to see the "wild" ponies along the Rhododendron trail. I say "wild" because:
(We were careful not to molest the ponies.)

My sister Joy had a friend that had been here before and suggested we bring apples for the ponies and they would eat them out of your hand. But first, we had to find the elusive miniature ponies.

My nieces and nephews each carried around an apple in their hand for the first half of the hike hoping to lure some ponies out of the bushes. When that wasn't working, it was suggested to take a bite out of the apples to release the apple aroma into the air, thus luring the ponies to us. (We were getting desperate, these ponies were no where to be found.)

But lil Lori took it one step further, and in classic Hansel and Gretel style started taking bites of her apple and spitting them out along the trail. When we were just about to give up on our search and pretend that we were just as happy only seeing the Rhododendrons blooming as we would have been seeing the ponies...

...we walked out over this plateau and saw a pony grazing right where we had just been. We are sure it was Lori's apple spitting technique that lured them! She was SO proud of herself!

We made it back down to the pony, which turned into ponIES (5 ponies and one baby to be exact!) and all got a chance to feed them and pet them. It was so amazing, slobber and all.
& when we ran out of apples one pony started coming after a not-so-carefully stowed bag of peanuts in the backpack my mom was carrying! Poor little things were hungry! (I can't exactly tell if this pony was overfed or pregnant!)

We called it a night after this, and had plans to hike one more trail Monday morning before heading back home. But the next morning John happened to overhear someone say that a big storm was coming our way so we decided to pack up instead. And just as we got everything packed, the rain came and followed us the entire 3 hours home.

Now today starts my first of four full weeks of work before the next family vacation. It can't come soon enough!

1 comment:

Savino said...

Great post and pictures. An avid hiker myself, though not as much as you appear to be.