Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Wednesday, September 17 – Ever since our daughter attended Virginia Tech ( 2003-2007), Paul wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail. We would pass access points several times while driving SR-460 from I-77 to the school. Well, today we are going to make that happen!

The Appalachian Trail is a public footpath that follows more than 2,100 miles of Appalachian Mountain ridgelines between Maine and Georgia. It was constructed in the 1920's and 1930's by volunteer hiking clubs. One-fourth of the trail lies in Virginia, where we are now camped. The trail runs roughly parallel to, but many miles removed from, the Blue Ridge Parkway. This section, in Virginia, is an area of mature forest and wilderness with high summits, as impressive as any region south of New England.

It was a bit overcast this morning.
Appalachian Trail

We drove about a dozen miles north on I-77 to right outside Bland, VA. We then exited on the scenic Route 52 and drove a few miles to the trail head. It is located at the highest point on the Big Walker Mountain National Scenic Byway in the beautiful mountains of western Virginia. You are definitely off the beaten path and able to enjoy views where “Only the Birds See More.”

We stopped in the Big Walker Store for a cup of coffee and some delicious cranberry bread for breakfast. We chose not to climb the tower for $6 each.....we are cheap-scapes. By-the-way, the temperature at the top of the mountain was 56 degrees on this chilly Wednesday morning.

Big Walker 

We also saw a very interesting sign. Now we know who Wytheville is named for.

Wytheville sign  

We followed the path behind the store past the old green truck and found the trail to Monster Rock.


We hiked past the Rock along the trail for over an hour before heading back.

There is a trail there somewhere.

This is our first hike since Paul's A-Fib incident so we wanted to take it easy and work into longer hikes. Paul did check his pulse several times (He is never aware of the A-Fib situation.) and found his pulse was beating on a nice rhythm although a little faster now that we were hiking at 3500 feet up and down hills.(Yeah we know Pam and John, 3500' is nothing compared to your 10K foot hikes in Glacier NP.....slow but sure. :-)).

Paul checking pulse

We really enjoyed this hike. The hike is on the ridge which made the hiking on big rocks a small challenge sometimes.



We didn’t see much of the sky during the hike.

trees along hike

Paul did his best to hold up the boulder with two hands so Marsha could hike under it.

Paul and boulder

If he was feeling 100%, he could probably hold it up like Marsha.

Marsha holding up boulder

The leaves have just started to change color. We both agree that this would be a gorgeous place to hike come October.

left changing

We did more sightseeing today, but we will tell you all about that tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y’all back real soon. Have a great day.


  1. I'm sure this is a great time of year to be hiking. Kids are all back in school and too early for the leave peeper crowd.

  2. ah. . .well I see you guys have gotten it started off with a bang. . .and what a fabulous place to get the ball rolling. . .Appalachian Trail, an intriguing part of history. . .we have found every part of Virginia to be beautiful. . .enjoy!

  3. Great hike!!
    My mother grew up in Wytheville, Va. all of her brothers and sisters lived in the area as well. Every year as a child we would make our way from Daytona Beach to Wytheville for vacation. I think I would appreciate it more as an adult than I did as a child!!

  4. I keep hoping the leaves will be changing for us before we leave here. We won't be hiking the trail so thanks for taking us alone with you.

  5. How exciting to see the two of you out on the trail again!! I can see the pure joy on Paul's face. Glad you are taking it slowly and easing into this hiking things. Can't wait to hear more as you move toward GA!!

  6. Had no idea Fort Chiswell was so close to the Appalachian Trail! What a great opportunity to experience it. We'll have to put it on our 'to do' list!

  7. The Appalachian Trail is beautiful. We have hike a few sections ourselves the hardest one beginning the part that takes you up to Mt. Washington. Looks like Paul had no problems with the hike, glad that you both enjoyed it. I am sure that come October you will still be hiking somewhere with some beautiful autumn colors.

  8. You are making progress and having fun, enjoy it there.

  9. They'd have to pay me $6 to climb that tower! Great to see Paul out hiking again and looking like he's really enjoying it.

    I don't know much about A-fib, but have you looked into one of these wrist gizmos like Fit-Bit that monitors things like heart, pulse, blood pressure etc.? I think they go for around $99.

  10. I have always wanted to hike part of the Appalachian Trail too. Looks like a lovely time of year to be exploring that part of the country. Sorry to hear about the A-Fib issue (I am woefully behind in blog reading), but it sounds like Paul is recovering well and being mindful about monitoring it.

  11. Without both of you, those rocks would have fallen down! Thanks for being our heroes.

  12. Show off! The poor guy isn't feeling 100%; give him a break ;-))) We've been on sections of the Appalachian Trail -- also in VA ... have always enjoyed the little segments.

  13. One of my best memories is doing a very little section of the AT. Made me teary eyed. It had been on my bucket list.

  14. We have always talked about hiking the Appalachian Trail but it is still on our list. :( We have a friend who is now 75 who just stopped hiking sections of the AT last year. Beautiful country. Love that last image. :)

  15. Glad Paul is feeling good and jealous about the AT. We hiked a little of it down in Georgia at the southern terminus- Amicalola Falls, and would love to do a lot more of it! But NOT all of it :)

  16. Looks like being back on the road suits you both fine! It's such a beautiful area that you're in.

  17. Good to see both of you are back on the road. Why are you giving Paul a hard time, poor guy :(
    We did hike a section of the App Trail both in NC and VA


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