West Virginia Weekend

This past weekend four of my college friends and I journeyed into the forests of West Virginia. We were fortunate enough to be able to stay at the Reed Cabin, located in Canaan Valley near Davis, West Virginia. After arriving late Friday night, we awoke to a pancake breakfast and a wonderful sunny day which we spent exploring several local areas. Lindy Point in Blackwater Fall State Park offered an amazing view into the gorge. The mountainsides had a faint reddish glow as the trees showed their first signs of budding.

IMG_0454
“Summer”, my good ‘ole Honda made it to the Cabin and back, despite some minor difficulties on the way home
guests
Guest Starring: Allison Reed, Tyler Copeland, Savannah Parson, Jack Bogle
IMG_0425
Pancakes were on point thanks to master chef Savannah
IMG_0458
Hiking trails in Blackwater Falls State Park
IMG_0473
The valley view from Lindy Point.
IMG_0468
It’s not a blog post by Gordon without a sandal shot…
IMG_0533
And some macro…

IMG_0550

IMG_0448
Pit-stop in Davis for some thrift shopping

IMG_0552

In the afternoon we chilled back at the cabin and cooked up some burgers and home-made fries. With renewed energy we went up to the Dolly Sods Wilderness to watch the sunset and enjoy s’mores. It was a perfect end to a perfect day! We enjoyed the hot tub at night and explored more on Sunday. To sum it up, it was a fantastic weekend in West Virginia!! A big THANK YOU goes out to Allison and the Reed family for allowing us to stay at their cabin!!!

IMG_0674
The Cabin
IMG_0602
A nice change from college cafeteria food

IMG_0625webbb

IMG_0667
The Ghosts of Dolly Sods
donewebr
Click for a larger view of this killer view
IMG_0661_5
Fun with fire painting

 

Summit Seeking – Spring Break

For Spring Break Ethan, Marshall, and I took a southbound journey into the Appalachian mountains. We planned to summit six states by hiking their highest mountains. Leaving just before midnight allowed us to be in Virginia by sunrise, where we picked up a great breakfast at Casey’s Diner.

IMG_9407
Casey’s Diner was a good way to start the day

Despite the fact that we were running on only one hour of sleep, we were full of energy and ready to conquer, so we began our first state summit: Mt. Rogers of Virginia. The hike was very scenic, with wild ponies and awesome rocky vistas that offered 360 degree views.

IMG_9426
Ethan getting dangerously close to a Pony

IMG_9435

 

IMG_9458
The wind was fierce up here

After Virginia’s summit, we wasted no time and headed for Kentucky to bag its highest point: Black Mountain. This mountain required just a short hike, which was shortened even more when a kind local gave us a ride back down the mountain.

IMG_9496
Sunset on Black Mountain
IMG_9482
Hitching a ride

No sleep finally caught up to us and we crashed for the night at a campsite. But by morning we were ready to defeat Tennessee at Clingman’s Dome. We battled 16 miles of trail which had a lot of snow and ice cover. It was a long trip, but the view made it worth it.

IMG_9535
Tennessee still had a wintry feel to it
IMG_9499
The summit of Clingman’s Dome!
IMG_9501
Looking North into the Carolinas

The next day we peaked Georgia’s Brasstown Bald and South Carolina’s Sassafras Mountain. The weather really got nice this day; nice enough for me to break out my sandals!

IMG_9553
Climbing Sassafras
IMG_9547
Flannels were required
IMG_9545
It’s not a road trip without some off-roading

On the final day we woke at 3:30 am to begin hiking Mt. Mitchell (N.C.), which is the highest peak East of the Mississippi. We made it to the top just before sunrise, which was our goal. Unfortunately there was a heavy fog, so we missed the sunrise altogether. My first experience of night hiking was still a great adventure!

IMG_9559
Good headlamps were a must
IMG_9575
Our sixth and final summit!

We were dead tired, but full of tons of great memories. I’m looking forward to next spring break for more state summits!