We hiked the Appalachian Trail (AT) to get to McAfee Knob, but we took the fire road route back. I don't know that the fire road was any shorter, but it didn't have as many ups and downs as the AT. It wasn't quite as pretty, either, but it had some views beyond the green tunnel (the trees) that we could see occasionally. We imagined those views would be really nice once the leaves were off the trees.
Anyway, the round-trip hike was 8.2 miles, and including the time we stopped to eat a snack and photograph ourselves on the knob, we spent about 4 hours or so doing this.
|we brought food to eat up there|
After that hike, we found a convenience store where gas was $1.89/gallon, and I got a pint of chocolate ice cream. We soon went to the Blue Ridge Parkway where Andrew rode his bike, and I drove the car.
I was driving along the parkway as I usually do when something darted out in front of me. It was round and dark; not the typical look of a deer! Two smaller round and dark creatures ran across the street as well. That's about the time it registered to me that I'd just seen BEARS cross the road as if they were running from something!
Although we are definitely in bear country when we visit the mountains - and we regularly see signs reminding us of this - we have never, in fact, come across bears in the wild except about fifteen years ago in Cades Cove, Tennessee. Never had we seen them on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
I was a little freaked out because I like to stop at the overlooks by myself when Andrew's biking, and, oh hey, Andrew was riding his bike somewhere behind me. Wouldn't that have been weird if they'd darted out in front of the man on the bicycle?
I rolled up my car windows because I think one of the bear cubs ran with the momma bear while the other darted back across the road. Which meant they were separated. And you know they say never to get between a momma and her baby bear! I suppose I thought the momma would be right there at the road ready to tear through my car as I drove by...and I didn't want her swiping at me through my lowered car windows! (Such crazy thoughts, I know, but it's not like I usually see bears!)
This is about the area where I saw the bears:
|somewhere in Virginia|
Later I came to the Montvale overlook and saw this sign for the Appalachian Trail. The AT runs along the Blue Ridge Parkway for many miles through Virginia.
I drove up to Peaks of Otter to wait for Andrew. I took a picture of Sharp Top Mountain (which we came back to climb the next day), and stepped into the country store. I saw one of those stickers that people buy for the backs of their vehicles. Like it might say OBX for Outer Banks or SML for Smith Mountain Lake. Well, Peaks of Otter's is POO.
|Sharp Top Mountain|