Hiking with Hermione: Cole/Cold Mountain

The weather this weekend was pretty ridiculous. It’s the middle of July and in Newport News the high was only 75 degrees both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday we took care of some things around the apartment, and then I went shopping & Graham went to play golf. Sunday, we had planned to go to the beach, but we decided to take advantage of the cooler temperatures and go hiking. We packed our stuff up and made another three-hour drive to central Virginia to the George Washington National Forest. We took a trail that linked up with the Appalachian Trail and took us to Cole Mountain (also known as Cold Mountain). The trail was difficult, but incredibly beautiful. So, let’s get started!

First, how cute is our passenger? She’s always adorable, but with her tongue sticking out she’s seriously the cutest dog ever.2014-07-20 11.53.57-2She’s also impatient. Graham had to tie his shoe,  and she was not happy about waiting. 2014-07-20 01.08.292014-07-20 02.00.52We passed a couple of these really cool walls made of stones. I’m going to pretend that they’re made for historic reasons… like land boundaries, or something to do with the Civil War, and not just made by weird people who like arranging rocks in the middle of the woods.
2014-07-20 01.46.27 After about 3.5 miles, we finally got out of the trees for a minute and saw some beautiful mountain scenery. While the temperature felt amazing (when my cell phone signal came back, I learned it was in the 60’s!!!), I hate that it wasn’t a bright, sunny day. But even overcast, it was still beautiful out there.
2014-07-20 02.55.452014-07-20 02.56.47The hike was really, really difficult. Lot’s of elevation changes. I wanted to quit about 5 times. What made it worse is that I really, really had to pee, so I wasn’t drinking as much water as I usually do. But Graham had to be all logical and remind me that it would be a longer walk back to the car. So I stuck it out. The wildflowers on the side of the trail were pretty though. Focusing on the colors took my mind off the burning in my calves and my bladder. 2014-07-20 03.54.492014-07-20 04.01.572014-07-20 02.54.02
Finally, we got to the top. The top was different from any other hike we’ve ever done. It still had unbelievably beautiful views, but instead of a small peak, we were welcome by massive amounts of rolling hills, wildflowers and 360 degree views. What is even better is that we were the only ones up there. And we were up there for at least 30 minutes taking pictures and relaxing. Hermione loved it. She ran around and explored and sniffed and collapsed in the grass to just roll around. 2014-07-20 16.37.10-12014-07-20 03.38.382014-07-20 04.01.26

A few months ago I bought a tripod for my new camera. It’s really lightweight, so Graham strapped it to his backpack and we brought it with us. We love a good selfie, but sometimes it’s nice to get some of our surroundings in the photos, and not just close-ups of our faces. Graham set the timer before I was ready. He ran over to me while I had my High School Musical hairbrush in my hand (don’t hate…) and was definitely not ready. So this happened…2014-07-20 03.43.35

And I promise I’m not flipping anyone off…2014-07-20 03.49.202014-07-20 04.07.35Once we were finished, we packed out stuff back up and continued our hike back to the car, and the scenery just got more and more beautiful.
2014-07-20 04.08.522014-07-20 04.11.58 We were really close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and since we were in no real hurry to get home, we took that all the way back to I-64. It was absolutely gorgeous. As much as I loved our life in Arkansas, the scenery there doesn’t come close to what we have on the East Coast. They are home of the World Cheese Dip Championship though, so it’s still a draw as to which state I like better 😉2014-07-20 05.47.12

 

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