[Editor’s note: this hike took place at the end of August, the week before my and Lexi’s wedding, when everything was extremely hectic. It was the perfect antidote to the stress we were feeling at the time. And now, I’m finally catching up on blogging!]
Length: 9 miles — Height gain: 3,000ft
Known as the “roller coaster”, this section of the Appalachian Trail is an hour drive outside of DC, to the north of Shenandoah NP, and somewhere we had not yet explored.
AT South sign
The trail duly lived up to its name with hardly a flat mile as we climbed and descended all day. Our reward was a stunning lookout from the summit of Buzzard Hill. We gazed out at an endless sea of wooded hills, entirely natural and devoid of man made intrusions.
Hiking south along the AT
View from the summit of Buzzard Hill
The team at the summit
First signs of fall
This turned out to be one of the harder hikes I’d done in the DC area, on account of the endless up and down. My calves ached for days after this one! The view was one of the best though, so this is definitely going in the memory bank as a great day out.
Check out the hiking guide – information on this site here.
“Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports. . . all others are games.” – Ernest Hemmingway
Panorama from the summit of Black Peak
Saving the best to last (see part I and part II of our NZ adventures): my brother and I were given carte blanche for the final day of the holiday so we chose a mountain day that would challenge us – Black Peak. It’s a spiky summit, accessible from the road but still far from the madding crowds, and one which would require just shy of 2,000m height gain (and subsequent descent). It would be a big day out.
A photo essay from the final day in the South Island of New Zealand:
Road from Queenstown to Glenorchy, en route to Black Peak
River crossing early in the day – an unexpected but fun obstacle
We were rewarded with one of the best days of walking I’ve had in a long time. The day had everything: perfect weather, a long and challenging route, a mountain summit, historic huts, jaw-dropping scenery and no other people. It was a sublime.
On the slopes of Black Peak
Room with a view
Climbing over the snowfields near the summit
Pete on the summit of Black Peak
Black Peak is the pyramidal summit on the R side of skyline
Mt Earnslaw, Glenorchy valley
“Look how far we’ve come!”
At last…..water. We ran out a couple of hours before but knew we had a refill at the car. Sweet relief!