We headed to SW Virginia at the beginning of September to meet up with dear friends to camp and explore in Grayson Highlands State Park
and the bordering Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. (Thanks to Jen S. for the tip to head this way!)
The area is famous for its Wild Ponies (used to keep the created "balds" open) and we met some right away. No, we didn't feed them or touch them, but we sure did enjoy hanging out with them.
The entire area is very scenic and we so enjoyed meandering amongst flowers, fall colors, mountain views and of course, taking time to sit and just savor. We've known Beth for years and were so excited to meet Pete, her husband. You know you are kindred, when everyone wants to sit and learn knots together! Check out Beth's blog here
and a past outing we shared that inspired us all
All you Appalachian Trail people know this white blaze well. (If you love this trail, these beautiful landscapes and healthy ecosystems, please take action
! I had no idea a pipeline was about to go through; it's time to say NO!)
growing along a fence made us all smile. What a happy plant! This is one we are already growing in pots at our home in OH to get a population started here since: we love it, it's a late bloomer, it's native and loved by bees.
Blue Ridge Mountains are such an appropriate name for these blue mountains.
This young wild pony just had to say hi!
After spending two nights camping with our friends, we headed into the backcountry for two nights. The freedom a backpack with all we need to survive is a feeling we will never underappreciate. It's completely empowering and simplifies life in a way nothing else does for us.
Nights out in wilderness are sacred to us and put our physical and mental selves in such a place of sanctuary and refuge.
Hurricane Irma arrived in VA on our second to last day and told us to head on out before inches of rain and crazy winds kept us in the mountains longer than we had provisions for.
To be on the far, far, far, far edge of a storm like this tests us and ties us to the power of nature in a way sunshine does not. It's exhilarating and we are just as grateful for these experiences when we have the opportunity to leave. For those in the middle of these terrible events, we cannot even imagine the horror. (This quick video is so loud with wind so be prepared with your computer speakers or earbuds. It's so worth watching though to see the wind and rain.)
When we parked to hike in, this parking lot was packed but the weather apparently sent everyone home. It's a busy, busy place in fair weather so be prepared, but it's also a really spectacular place to experience.