I'll take a break from back-posting about Alaska to write about yesterday's hike up Mount Pleasant in the George Washington National Forest in Western Virginia. I'd never been there before and had a great trip. I had joined a local hiking group about a month ago using the internet service Meetup.com, but this was my first chance to actually hike with them because of the Alaska trip. Because of rain, a few people cancelled, but we had a fun and active group of nine of us do this hike - really nice people. As someone who often decides to hike at the last minute and ends up hiking alone, I really enjoyed hiking with a group.
The trip was about 6 miles, I think, and a loop, which is always nice. There was a good amount of uphill. I think we gained about 1,300 feet to get to a couple of the summits. Mount Pleasant had tremendous views to the east and the west from two different summit points. Our hike started in the rain, but after a couple of miles in - right about the time I decided to remove my raincoat because I was getting too hot and soaked from sweat - the rain stopped. So I was able to get my camera out of its ziplock bag and start shooting photos. Some of them are shown here.
Right after the rain stopped, some of us gathered for a photo about a half mile from the summit.
There were lots of apple trees in this area, as well as tons of acorns and hickories. The nuts of the latter tasted a lot like pecans - delicious. There should be lots of deer and bear in this area with all the great concentrated calories. We did see bear scat.
The view from the summit was beautiful with the peaks sticking out like islands in the clouds.
Here was our merry band of hikers, less the photographer.
This scene reminded me of waves starting to break over an island.
Sure beats being in the office!
We saw lots of flowers on this hike like these:
And these closed gentian (in Team in Training colors of purple and green):
One of the guys joked that the ad for this part of the forest would be "this forest comes fully fern-ished:"
Many uphill sections on this hike. It was a good workout (and a ton of fun). Those who decided not to come along because of the rain missed out on a great trip.