Friday, August 3, 2012

Day 7 - Back to the Commonwealth

Day 7 saw your Ramblers leaving North Cackalacky and returning to the Commonwealth for an extended homeward bound journey. We made the short jaunt from Boone to the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area by 11:00 am. After a short stint in the visitor center and talking to a ranger about various hiking options we set out from the Massie Gap area and the Rhododendron Trail which quickly turned into the AT. We saw lots of the famous wild ponies and the terrain is much more open than most mountain areas with flat pasture type settings filled with blackberry and blueberry bushes offset by rocky outcrops. We were determined to hit the peak of Mount Rogers at a little over 5,700 ft and the highest point in the Commonwealth.  The trail from Massie Gap to the Mount Rogers summit is about 4.5 miles and very rocky in places.  We completed the 9 mile circuit in about 4 hours and have to admit the feet are tired. If  you come to this area bring the sturdy shoes.

No matter where I go I can't get away from wild ponies


Your Ramblers went into today without a lot of expectations but came away very impressed. The scenery is different with horses and some long(er) horn cattle grazing openly, the terrain is very open and there are lots of trails.  After Monday's collective brain farts we were well prepared with water, gels and Cliff Bars that came in handy at the turn around. Lots of great camping is also available and would be worth a return trip.

After leaving Mount Rogers we setoff for Mecca (Blacksburg) and made pretty quick work of the trip via I81 and the 70 mph speed minimum.  We thought Rambler Jane was joining us tonight but alas that is tomorrow. After a week away it was nice to have some amenities like a washer/dryer, great showers and a big screen to relax around. Tomorrow is tubing on the New River with Rambler Jane and Rambler Trainee Sir Alex.

Till then....keep rambling.

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