Well, if climbing miles up the steep sides of mountains is paradise... then we were there. Our time in the Blue Ridge was mighty fine. I would have loved to stay up there for another week or two but we are making for Massachusetts and that is that! Our campsite was right at the base of Crabtree Falls which is a series of waterfalls that stretch up the mountainside for two solid miles and the trail which runs the length of the falls eventually meets up with the Appalachian trail up top. It was smash your brains out beautiful.
This time of the year there are thousands of wild rhododendrons in bloom all over the place and the color is amazing especially in conjunction with the falls.
Beyond the falls area we climbed up to Spy Rock which gives a 360 degree view of the surrounding Blue Ridge and waaaay off into the distance as well. It was a serious ass whipping for us to do both hikes in a row (we are clearly out of shape) but it was so worth it. And as you may have guessed by this point in the post.... I was spared by the bears of the Blue Ridge. We did see signs of them near Spy Rock, but they had places to go and other people to eat that day so there were no problems. Billy was comfortable enough at the top to take a nap while I crept around shooting pics.
It really is troubling the extent to which my leg muscles were demolished by these two hikes. Last night I felt as though I had been beaten by a large wooden bat from the hips down. I can't imagine what it must be like to hike the entire AT from Georgia to Maine. There must be days in the beginning when the word pain does not even come close to describing the sensation in your legs and back. My hat goes off to all y'all who tackle that challenge. We met a guy on the trail to Spy Rock who was doing the whole AT. He had started in Georgia on March 15th. He was alone and I would guess he was around 50 years old. He was the picture of happiness and health. There was not a trace of worry, stress or negativity on his face. You have to see someone with a face like this to realize that most of us DON'T have a face like this. He was eating a sandwich like it was his last meal and his favorite food and he was on ecstasy. The sandwich looked a mess... but he was lovin' it. This is one of the benefits of true hunger and actually really needing the fuel for your body... an old cheese sandwich tastes like a million bucks.
We have traveled back down to the Charlottesville area to get Big Berta's oil changed and pull ourselves together for the final push back to MA. We should arrive there before the weekend hits. I will post a few more pics and Billy's new VA work along the way. Now I must go and eat ice cream.