After the relaxing walk enjoying Foxfire (see Jane’s post), we needed a place to camp. Seems like a theme doesn’t it? Soon, we’ll slow down and camp in one place for more than one day and do trips from that base. But this night, just before sundown, we crawled the 4Runner up a perilously steep and narrow road leading into Black Rock Mountain State Park. I even drove right past the gate sign that read “campground full”, on up to the 3640 ft summit where a narrow campground was perched.
The tradition for RV places is to drive around the loop once and select your site to back or pull into on the next lap. I often don’t like this, preferring to park and walk through. Right away, the camp host drove over in his golf cart. Even in this busy park I “was in luck if I only wanted one night”. Allen showed us which sites we could choose from and then offered us turkey dinner. My brief polite refusals were met with insistence. Jane and I were, of course, hungry. Not bike or hike hungry, but dinner was on our minds just the same! My final denial, was met by Allen saying “now don’t you all be hateful” “sit right down and fix yourself plate of this”. The freshly cooked turkey, baked beans and biscuits were a delight as the early chill of darkness commenced.
Jane and I were still in single layer long sleeves and not too cold, but laughed later to note some college co-ed campers in hats, gloves, snow pants and parkas. Kind of reminded us of when we see Maine-ers not wearing a coat while we get cold, except we were the ones who didn’t need extra layers.
My day started in time to take pictures of sunrise from our campsite. The hardest task is to decide which one to post, so I picked three.
I almost made a “slideshow” of dozens and posted that. After crawling back to a warm bed until 8, we got up, feasted on eggs-in-a-hat and planned our hike. It has gotten noticeably warmer as we move South. The sleeping bag-as-quilt is too warm now, and we’ve noticed massive Rhododendron that seem to have set a second set of blossoms.
The James Edmund Trail had come up in at least 3 prior conversations so we figured it would be a scenic challenge.
Jane has really built herself some trail legs, hardly stopping throughout our 4 and 1/2 hour hike. Metrics: a little over 7 miles including 2290′ of ascent, and 1995′ of descent bely the nice feel of the trail. We both still prefer going up to walking downhill, even if it is a little faster. Our boots are getting some use and the single pair of trekking poles are presenting their own pros and cons. (I use ’em like ski poles a lot going down making turns all the while.)
The trail drops down into a valley, climbs to Lookoff Mt, drops down in again, then has to climb all the way back up onto Black Rock Mountain. The peanut butter and jelly feast at the Overlook at Lookoff Mt was a feast topped off with clear cold water. Boy, we are LIVING!