April 24, 2012

the greatest view i never saw

I said in my last post that I'd talk more about the weekend weather, so here goes.
Saturday morning, my former roommate (who so graciously allowed us houseroom this weekend) and I decided to find a great hike to try while the boys went to play golf.  Circumstances beyond our control ultimately hampered both activities....
First of all, GoogleMaps took us the back-road way to the wrong place, but thank goodness for smartphones and our ability to look up the hike from the road and find its actual location.  In our detour, however, we did find a lovely field with daisies growing in it so it wasn't a total loss ;)  We finally found the parking lot and headed up the 3.9 mile hike to the summit, with the sun shining warm and many breaks for water and snacks.  After awhile, the sky began to get gray and although rain had been forecasted, I had my fingers crossed that it wouldn't impede anything, and after all a light drizzle would have felt nice.  It kept getting darker and finally the rain came, but we kept moving anyway...let's pause right here to say that in general, I am not the person (yet) who hikes just because I enjoy hiking or being in the woods or getting great exercise or whatever.  It's hard work and my main motivation is the reward of beautiful, well-earned photos at the top...as in, "I didn't hike all this way for nothing."  So, more than 3/4 of the way into the hike when the rain started to pick up and we were soaked to the bone, we had to make a decision.  Let's pause again...the hike we were on is called McAfee's Knob and I'd read right before we left that it's the most photographed spot on the Appalachian Trail.  If you're curious as to why, here's a link to the Google Images for the place...now.  After that, I was not to be stopped on my quest for epic photos at the summit, but my hiking partner, whose head was clear of this photographic obsession, thought it would be a good idea if we turned around and started our descent pre-summit.  Ultimately, hungry, rained-on and miserable, and unsure of what the weather was going to do, we turned around, even after meeting two guys who said it was only 15 or 20 minutes further and so worth it, and then meeting two girls who said you couldn't see anything anyway (clouds?  fog?  probably...I can't help but wonder if the fog was obscuring everything or clinging to certain spots, looking extra awesome).
Soon after turning around and making our way back down, the rain slowed and stopped and awhile later, the sun came back out.  This, of course, made me crazy.  The frustration was lessened when we met a torrential downpour so heavy we had to pull over on the way back to the apartment.
After all was said and done, my phone's pedometer said I'd walked 9.5 miles that day.  My legs are still killing me, and I don't even have the insane photos to show for it!  I'm determined to conquer this hike now, next time better prepared.  It will have to wait until our next voyage to Blacksburg though!  We did get to sit on a rock with a nice view on the way back down, which was better than nothing (see photos second and third from last above).
In the meantime, I've got to find hikes a little closer to home to try.  My shoes need breaking-in and my legs need conditioning for Ireland hikes, which are sooner than I think (5 weeks!!)

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