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We had been talking about arranging a trip for some time and finally the moment was right.
So Susan and I headed up to Mt Rogers in south-western Virginia for her first over night trip ever!
Here we were loaded up and ready to depart from the Massie Gap backpacker parking lot.
A good weather day to begin with was a happy occurrence!
Susan was chuggin’ up the AT as we ascended Wilburn Ridge.
We stopped for a break a quarter mile before Rhodo Gap and discovered that the sun had heated the rocks quite well and it countered the cool wind nicely.
Because my tent is so small I brought the tarp for her. But she insisted on using the tent….women….
Speaking of, I had never heard clapping and cheering for successfully hanging my food before. I’ll take all the positive reinforcement that I can get!
Here was Susan mixing a bag dehydrated three bean salad. You gotta make ‘em work for dinner of course.
We spied this little blue tent while out on a day hike from camp.
Here we were relaxing somewhere on the ridge.
How happy was I? Why happy enough to jump for joy!
A little later Susan got all “Karate Kid” on me.
Yes, one of the requirements for this trip was a full size pillow. It compressed pretty well actually. I may have to think about that one for myself down the road.
We grabbed our food and ambled about a quarter mile down the trail to eat dinner on the rocks behind the Thomas Knob Shelter and take in the sunset.
Another view from back at camp…
Another luxury was the Baby Taylor.
I don’t make fires very often but that was the right time.
We had an absolutely amazing evening of fun and relaxation. In fact, it may have been my best backcountry night ever. The fire was superb, the food good, the wine was still a bit chilled; we lay on the ground and star gazed at the brilliant night sky for a good long while. I believe I could have slept right there with my head on a rock. Eventually the temperature dropped below the point that our mutual body warmth and dwindling fire could overcome and we had to head off to the sleeping bags.
The next morning I escorted Susan to the privy which was about a quarter mile away near the shelter. Her expression sums up my feelings regarding moldering privies.
And as it turned she opted to follow my lead and go to the woods instead; less unpleasantness to be sure.
This was the camp departure picture before shoving off.
It rained on and off all morning. I prefer to carry a bumbershoot in summer even though we did have rain jackets.
We hiked back out to Rhodo Gap on the AT then took the Crest trail to see if we could run into some wild ponies.
This bull was giving us the stink eye and I kept thinking of Ashleigh’s trip report where the bull chased her. We gave it a wide berth there on the Crest trail and even circled around Pine Mountain to jump the fence and avoid passing close to him on our way back up to Rhodo Gap.
Susan was hanging in there on about mile 6 of our 8 mile return route. She had done 13 mile day hikes with me before (with more elevation gain) but never with a pack. What a trooper!
Finally we spotted some ponies (actually Susan did)! We didn’t get the close up experience but it was great to finally see them after being out there for two days with no sighting.
And here was the final pose after arriving back at the parking lot and just before the three hour drive home.
Someone started a thread about their greatest backpacking trip and I never posted in it because I really couldn’t decide. Well this may well have been my favorite trip of all time. I was finally able to enjoy my favorite person and passion simultaneously.
It was incredibly joyous and I feel blessed to have had the experience.
But I’m greedy and I want more!….my scheming has begun in earnest. Waaa.haa, haaaa