Two-Day Appalachian Trail Hike
During my first stint in Richmond, VA, I didn’t spend much time in the Shenandoah National Park, Blue Ridge Mountains, or any of the beautiful parks in Virginia. Having discovered how much I like hiking (short hikes in particular) that figures to change this time around.
And change quickly. Literally the day after moving into the new apartment (good timing, huh?), I was invited to join a group of guys for a 2-day hike along a short portion of the Appalachian Trail. We decided to hike Dobie Mountain and the Albright Loop Trail.
It was my first overnight hike; I’d been camping before, but only of the drive-up variety. My plan was to bring a simple backpack, but upon meeting up with everyone, I was “encouraged” to use someone’s extra real backpacking pack, and I’m glad I did. I never realized how great they are – I carried more weight while simultaneously feeling like I carried less weight.
We made the roughly 3 mile journey to our campsite (I told you I prefer short hikes) in just a few hours. The hike started uphill, to the top of Dobie Mountain, before descending rapidly into the valley where the campsite was located. We did do some backtracking – there is wreckage from a 1964 plane crash just off the trail, and we missed it the first time around.
Our campsite was simple – some flat ground around a fire pit, with a nearby stream that made for an excellent beer fridge. After pitching our tents, I spent some time photographing the colorful leaves. We were lucky, and this trip occurred in the peak fall color-changing season. Lots of yellow and orange!
The next day, we got up, cursed the hard ground and our aging joints, packed up the tents, and made the hike back. We took a different route back, and were rewarded with the Glass Hollow Overlook, which was definitely the best view of the entire two-day hike. Plus, since it was so early in the morning, we were the only ones there.
Overall, it was a gentle introduction to the mountains of Virginia, and I plan to come back regularly. In addition to the great landscape photo opportunities, it’s just a lot of fun to explore such a great natural area only 90 minutes from home.
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