After we finished the "antipasti course" of our Mount Rogers hike, the Cabin Creek Trail, it was time to move on to the insalata (salad) course - a hike along the scenic ridges and balds of Virginia's high country on the way to Mount Rogers. Our goal was to get near the Thomas Knob shelter on the Appalachian Trail, where we heard we could find a reliable spring. So up we went. The topo map below shows the route in blue - straight up the Appalachian Spur Trail to the AT itself, where we headed north towards the shelter and our camping spot, indicated with a red star.
At the start of the hike, we can't say we were not warned. However, we did not have extreme weather, other than it was very windy late in the day, and even more so all night. And of course, camping out at about 5,400 feet, the temperature dropped a long way - into the 30's - at night.
Just a little ways up the trail, we ran into two little wild ponies, a roan and a pinto. We had been hoping to see some of these animals on our hike, and it was pretty cool to see some so early in the trip.
The panoramic views for most of this day were amazing. Every time we thought that they could get no better, they did. I could have posted many more photos, but these are representative. Click on the photos, especially the panoramas, to get a better feel for the views.
And then, it was back to the open views quickly enough.hike up Mount Rogers.
Here is our tent site for the first night. My little tent is in the foreground. It was open and windy but there was some shelter provided by the trees. The stars at night were amazing!