Down and Done


Gary has dropped me off at the Trailhead on the ridge above Burkes Garden. He will drive to the road crossing at the bottom of the mountain and start hiking up towards me. I’ll have about a 2 hour head start due to driving time, and I get to saunter down most of the day. Sounds good to me! The views into Burkes Garden aren’t as good as yesterday because the Trail quickly starts to leave the ridge. 


Hiking the Appalachian Trail has taught me many lessons. Never expect one side of the mountain to be the same as the opposite side. If there are steep, rocky sections with lots of mud and water drainages, the other side might be all open breezy meadows. And you can’t really tell from the maps. Sometimes you’re pleasantly surprised, sometimes, sucker-punched. Just like real life, huh. No views of endless mountains here. Today is all about rhododendron tunnels. And numerous signs about recent bear activity. Yikes! 


Lots of squaw corn popping up.


These flowers are tiny– smaller than a dime and I can’t think of the name but I love the intense color. 


Gary didn’t have a difficult trek up the mountain because the last mile was a nice old, forest road. Trail Magic! I peaked inside to find a bunch of different kinds of Mountain Dew. I left  the cold drinks for ThruHikers. Who knew there are flavors of Mountain Dew? Learned another thing!


I took this photo from the bridge. There’s the road, right across Laurel Creek. This is the way to end a wonderful hiking trip. I stopped for a moment here, listening to the water and bird song, letting the peace of the woods settle over me, reminding myself why I hike. I’m so grateful to have this experience. In the car, I’ll be plotting my next section and wondering when I can get back to the Trail again.  

VA 623 to VA 615 Laurel Creek   8.9 Miles

37.9 Miles hiked    545.8 Miles Remaining


Back to gallery