It was hard being at work all week, because I was supposed to be backpacking. But I didn't dwell on it and, yesterday being my regular every other Friday off, I decided to hit the trail and return to Mount Pleasant (east of Lexington). I was there four years ago with some fellow hikers, but yesterday, I hiked solo. Unlike the last time when it was drizzly and cloudy, it was partially sunny yesterday.
This is a moderately strenuous 5.6 or so mile hike, certainly not a stroll, but nor is it a "quad buster." There are fantastic views from each of the two spurs at the summit, and those are the highlights of the hike. The elevation profile shows a gain and loss of about 1,500 feet. But compared to hiking last weekend with a 40+ pound pack, yesterday felt pretty laid back, even on the uphill sections.
Here is a track for the hike, starting and ending at the purple star, and hiking counter-clockwise on the Henry Lanum Memorial Trail. At the lower right corner of the map, you can see the side trails to the western and eastern spurs of the Mount Pleasant summit. You have to climb a very steep rock pile of about 7-8 feet to get to the western spur. Being by myself, I did that very carefully, especially coming back down.
There was a pleasant little stream for the first part of the hike.
Lady in red
Most of the trail was good footing, but all the leaves made things treacherous at times. They get slippery when on walks downhill, and they cover all kinds of small rocks that are potential ankle breakers. You can see that there is some color still in western Virginia, but not a lot.
I decided to do a panorama of the forest from the trail.
On the way to the summit, I talked to two ladies who were backpacking. They had spend a cold and windy night on Cold Mountain the night before. A short time after speaking to them, I reached the western spur of the summit:
From there, I went on to the eastern spur. Can you imagine the views from here at sunrise and sunset, or when the fall colors are at the peak?
I don't get a lot of photos of myself - maybe that is a good thing - but I set my camera to timer on the eastern spur of Mount Pleasant, placed it on a rock, and snapped a "selfie"
I liked the color contrasts - red, white, and blue! Mother Nature was liking the good old USA!
After leaving the summit, I hiked several miles through the woods back to my car, and then got on the road. I liked the way the sun hit the trees on my ride back out towards the main road.
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