Mt. Rogers: Sunset hike on the AT
This past November, though at that time Virginia was still brand new, Josh and I got the itch to explore the Appalachian Trail just a little further away from the usual spots and crowds. So, after some quick research we decided Grayson Highlands State Park was the place to go. Unfortunately, I did not double check our route on the drive there, and Apple Maps seemed to think it would be just fine to arrive on the North end of the park… on a very primitive road. This delayed our start considerably but did not deter us! Lesson learned, we headed ’round to the main entrance and found the trailhead.
As promised, there were some small, hardy looking and very curious wild ponies wandering around the trails. At one point, a foal came careening towards us, bolting away towards his mother only at the last minute. I will say, our dogs’ confusion at those large dog-ish creatures was very entertaining, even though we had to work a little harder to keep them going forwards.
It was a beautiful, crisp autumn day, and the trail up Mt. Rogers was quite pleasant. There were several camping spots that seemed very appealing for a backpacking trip, and of course we passed some boy scouts doing just that!
We stopped for a snack at the shelter just below the peak and made the decision to turn around so we would make it back to the parking lot before it got too dark.
On the way down, I was now so very glad that we’d driven around more than we had to to get here, because I got to capture an incredible sunset. Somehow the tall yellow grass was just glittering gold with light and the mountains were a faded gray-blue against the orange sky.
I have to say, you haven’t really experienced a place until you’ve watched a sunset there…