Category Archives: Hiking

Buzzard Hill Appalachian Trail hike

[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

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

Hiking south along the AT

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View from the summit of Buzzard Hill

View from the summit of Buzzard Hill

The team at the summit

The team at the summit

First signs of fall

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.

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New Zealand Part III – Climbing Black Peak

“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

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 to Glenorchy, en route to Black Peak

Road from Queenstown to Glenorchy, en route to Black Peak

River crossing

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

On the slopes of Black Peak

McIntosh's Hut

McIntosh’s Hut

Room with a view

Room with a view

Climbing over the snowfields near the summit

Climbing over the snowfields near the summit

Pete on the summit of Black Peak

Pete on the summit of Black Peak

Black Peak is the pyramidal summit on the R side of skyline

Black Peak is the pyramidal summit on the R side of skyline

Glenorchy valley

Mt Earnslaw, Glenorchy valley

"Look how far we've walked!"

“Look how far we’ve come!”

At last…..water

At last…..water. We ran out a couple of hours before but knew we had a refill at the car. Sweet relief!