In my four day backpacking trip in Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, patterned after an Italian feast, I guess I'd have to say my favorite "courses" were the "salad" (Hiking in Virginia's High Country with its incredible views) and the "soup" (this post, where I actually hiked to the top of Mount Rogers- 5,729 feet, - the highest point in Virginia). It is also the highest point on the East Coast between the North Carolina mountains and the White Mountains in New Hampshire.
Originally, Hawkeye suggested that we hike to the summit just before sunset, catch the sunset, stay for the stars, and hike down in the dark back to camp. But I convinced him that because there is, paradoxically, no view from the top of Mount Rogers, that it made more sense to hike up and back in daylight and catch the sunset and stars from camp. By the time camp was all set up, it was about 5:15, and sunset was about an hour and a half away, or even a little less. Hawkeye decided not to go to the summit, but I was determined to. I hadn't stood on top of Mount Rogers since I was a graduate student, where I backpacked here once with two friends and we reached the top. Also, I had come here a year after that with my ornithology class on a field trip. I didn't feel that this hike would be complete without standing on top of this mountain once again.
So I stuffed some emergency supplies in my nearly empty pack and started hiking. I didn't see any problem covering the hike, less than two miles, before dark, and it wasn't a problem. Here is a three dimension topo representation of my 1.7 mile hike to the top and back, marked in yellow.
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