We hiked the Grayson Highlands today and it was amazing. The temps were in the los 60s and we were excited for the chance to check out the wild ponies near the end of our hike. I was also looking forward to spending part of the day with our good friends Michele and Craig. Michele has been working with my stepfather Gus for as long as I can remember and her husband Craig is a fellow cyclist and adventure nut. A few years ago they sold everything and bought an RV and are living the dream traveling around the US. They are headed up to Maine later this year to run a resort in Acadia National Park and I hope we can connect with them again there.
We really took it easy today and enjoyed a nice slow pace as we enjoyed the sunrise. The climbs were gentle and Virginia is proving to be quite a show off with her pretty horse farms and stunning views of the Blue Ridge. I’ve been warned that thru hikers experience the “Virginia Blues” because the state is so long but I’m not feeling that at all. I think the difference is that I feel so lucky everyday to still be out here that I don’t have any time to get bored. The fragility of everything right now just brings everything into focus. Living in the present is actually happening for me and it’s a very very pleasant feeling. For example, we took a break today and just sat on a rock for 20 minutes to chat. It was slow, lazy and really had no point. Just beautiful that break!
We met Craig and Michele around 11:30 and sat in the grass and had lunch together. A section hiker stopped by and gave us two Peak brand dehydrated meals and we had those for dinner tonight. This is the premium trail grub for sure. They make delicious dehydrated meals that are ridiculously high calorie. Mine was 920 calories and I loved every bit of it!
After Craig and Michele turned around to head back to the car we climbed up to the Grayson Highlands and got to mess around for a good while with the wild ponies. They nibbled at our sweaty pack straps and nipped at our arms until we fed them some fruit snacks. They were so sweet and one of the followed us down the trail a bit near our campsite.
We got into a beautiful campsite exactly at mile 500. I mean right on the line and it was an exciting milestone. Feels sort of like 25% of the way if you squint kinda hard. The campsite is our favorite so far. It is sitting in a ridge of a bald with a beautiful view of the valley and a clean cold spring for our water source. We spent forever making a fire and finally succeeded but it didn’t burn too long. After the fire I found a bag of brownies that a Michele and Craig gave us in my pocket and man were they delicious. They were not messing around with the chocolate when they made these. We are planning to meet up with them again later in Virginia for more brownies I hope.