June days in Virginia can be scorching and steamy, or they can be drizzly and cool. And sometimes, they can be picture-perfect. It was the latter that we were rewarded with on Friday June 2 (group hike along the Doyle's River Falls loop) and on Saturday June 3 - when I led a second group hike for the Old Dominion Appalachian Trail Club, this time to the gorgeous Mount Pleasant trail.
This is a 6.2 mile - a 10K - loop through part of the George Washington National Forest. It is a popular area with hikers and backpackers, and the Appalachian Trail runs close by. The total elevation gain is about 1,350 feet. Here is a view of the track, starting and ending at the purple star (upper left), following the direction of the arrows, and showing the summit of Mount Pleasant at just over 4,000 feet with its wonderful views at the red star.
One thing we noticed about the woods that the trail went through was the abundance of ferns. They were everywhere. This is one trail that certainly comes "fully fernished."
We also got a nice bonus with rhododendrons in bloom at the higher elevations.
After a hike of about 3 miles, you reach the summit of Mount Pleasant with its gorgeous views. Although the mountain is covered in forest, there is a bare rock area with the views, and it makes for a great lunch spot.
Rhododendrons in bloom at the summit of Mount Pleasant.
There were nine of us on this hike, and here are eight of them!
Here is the ninth.
Three of our crew did the day hike and afterwards hiked up nearby Cole Mountain to spend the night camping out. They reported having a great time. When we were leaving the parking area and saying goodbye to them, I said to the other men "When we were young, it was the men having the adventures. Now, its the women, as we men head to comfy beds and showers!"
This hike capped a great two days in a row of hiking in the mountains. I believe that a good time was had by all. It certainly was by me!
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