Old man on Cold Mountain.
Old Hotel Trail to Appalachian Trail; AT south to Bald Knob, then back north to Hog Camp Gap. 7.7 miles.
There's probably no hike we enjoy more than this loop in the Mt. Pleasant National Scenic Area, and on this day, the added spur to the top of Bald Knob (to get us two 4,000-footers in one day) made it all the more fun.
In fact, The Day Hiker said, half a mile in, that she'd forgotten how much she likes this hike, with its streams, meadows, forests, returning blackberry bushes (after a burnoff last year) and its crescendo climb onto the bald of Cold Mountain. And so enamored was she with the walk that the suggestion to add two miles to it by going south to Bald Knob before completing the loop was met with no protest at all.
We ate lunch near that wooded summit, with a view of Cold, Mt. Pompey and Mt. Pleasant mountains before us through the still-leafless trees.
Back on the main loop and heading over Cold Mountain we came across lots of happy hikers, the first we'd seen all day.
It may be a sign that we need to put ourselves walking south on the AT a little more in coming weeks: that it is already mid-April and we haven't seen any thru hikers yet this year.
How to get there: From I-81, take exit 188 toward the through Buena Vista (don't miss the Charlie Manuel, World Champion Phillies sign) and left onto Va. 634 to right on Va 755, which turns to both gravel and Forest Road 48 before you reach the parking area at Hog Camp Gap.
April 17, 2010