As indicated in the previous entry, on Sunday I drove into Southwestern VA, and I intended to do Mount Rogers the next day. I also needed to run an errand in a big city, which I decided to do on Monday, leaving the hike for Tuesday. I decided to check out the trailhead on my way to the Big City, which looked to be within an hour or two's drive.
One of the three trailheads is located in Grayson Highlands State Park, which appears to be the best choice since at least one of the others is remote and has had car thefts. I went up the Rhododendron Trail a bit, and I even saw a couple of the famous ponies standing in the shade of a trail sign.
The trip from the park to the outskirts of Winston-Salem NC was a 1.5 hour white knuckle ride on the Lonewacko express as I went up one holler, round the next knob, up the knob, down the knob, through the holler, and so on and so forth all while shifting the (unfortunately auto) tranny like crazy and still being unable to equal the speed limit in some places. (Note to UK readers: a "knob" is the local name for a hill.) I must have burned several dollars of gas. I got to Winston-Salem late, so I waited here overnight until I could run my errand earlier today.
Thanks for making it through the explanation above, now for the good stuff.
W-S is a little sleepy, but it's not that bad. The cost of living here appears to be rather inexpensive for some inexplicable reason. I mean, it doesn't have any major touron attractions, but it's not that bad. The weather here is pretty nice and warm. And, I have immediate experience with that as I'm currently sitting in my car on Fourth St. in downtown W-S blogging using the city-supplied free WiFi access. A young lady who definitely had back walked past a few minutes ago; there are many fine ladies here in addition to her.
The pictures above are from Pilot Mountain State Park. I went there to look for some of my fellow rock climbers. Despite taking the whole Ledge Spring Trail, I didn't see anyone, although I saw a few climbing-related markings. The park says that trail is strenuous; I say it's moderate at most. Pilot Mountain itself is visible right off the 4 lane highway, and it's somewhat impressive. You can't, however, climb or hike to the top because it's home to an endangered species or a nesting area or something. And, the views from there aren't too good because of tree cover.
The pretty young secretary at the visitor center was, strangely enough, fully made-up and dressed-up; most people working in such setting are not. Unfortunately, she was only there briefly so I wasn't able to find out what the deal was. I'll save my speculation for a later date.
BloggingAcrossAmerica · Tue, 10/21/2003 - 12:08 · Importance: 1