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Kurt on Read Mountain, February 2017.
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The 13th Anniversary Valentine’s Day Hike to Apple Orchard Falls, with full selfie scariness.
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Eric, Ava and Grayson in Bottom Creek Gorge Preserve, February 2017.
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Cookie, left, with no layers, and Gail, at Fullhardt Knob Shelter, with the latter wanting all to know that “all those layers include gloves in my pockets.”
February 5: Read Mountain Trails. 5.2 miles
So this was on the little-used CCC Trail, headed up toward Buzzard Rocks the back way. And here comes a little group of six people, with whom we shared the usual heys and howzit-goings, when suddenly one of the ladies goes all “Hey, I know you!” She’s pointing at The Greatest Day Hiker Of Them All. “You look just like your picture!”
Turns out, I guess, that a few people do read this blog, and the six nice folks were both kind and knowledgeable about these little write-ups, with one lady saying she uses them to plan her hikes.
‘Course we were too—what, flattered?—to think to ask for a photo, but the pleasant encounter of being caught out in the woods nonetheless made our hike and our day.
February 12: Bottom Creek Gorge Trails. 4.2 miles
Big crowd! Ben n Sarah, Eric, plus grandkids Aden and Matthew, Tyler and Reese, Grayson and Ava, the tiniest and probably the best walker for her age of the day—not four till August--though she did get brief on-shoulders carries from Papa, Dad Eric and Uncle Ben along the way. We pretty much took over the overlook for lunch. Pretty day and a great walk.
February 15: Apple Orchard Falls/Cornelius Creek 13th Anniversary Loop Hike. 6.2 miles
Valentine’s Day 2004 was our first hike on this weekend oddity, and we had a nice day for the 13th annual revisit. Though these days The Day Hiker easily convinces us to take the old forest road between the two trails, instead of going up to the AT to cross. Still one of the best walks around here, and on this (Wednes)day, we had the whole thing to ourselves. We continued on north after the hike to Staunton, to watch Fred Eaglesmith perform—another of our favorite things to do.
February 25: Appalachian Trail from U.S. 11 in Troutville to Fullhardt Knob Shelter and back. 7.8 miles
Another old favorite, undertaken on a cool day, along a section that is usually pretty empty, and was completely so this day. The longest walk that getting-old-dog Cookie has undertaken in several years.