Sunday, June 1, 2014

Photo Essay: North Mountain's Easy, Gorgeous Hikes

Video 1 of 4 - Click here to see more.

Pampa scrambles up the rocks on one of the viewpoints on North Mountain.
Rhododendron in full bloom.
North Mountain and its series of easy-to-reach, jaw-dropping views was just what I need for my tired butt today. Yesterday's hike up (mostly down, actually) McAfee's Knob was wearing and today was too pretty not to get out, so North Mountain in Rockbridge County it was.

Wildflowers dot the mountain.
This is mostly a drive to the top of the North Mountain ridgeline and then a number of fairly easy hikes--mostly in the half-mile range, though the third turnoff could be far, far more than that if youw ant. There are some small pulloffs for parking and several roads that lead to parking along the ridgeline. All of them have trails running from them; all the trails have wondrous views both east and west of North Mountain in one of Virginia's prettiest counties.
This is not far from Lexington and it's easy to reach (Directions: Take Exit 43 off I-64 West at Lexington; go to the bottom of the off-ramp, cross the road and enter the dirt road. That's the road to the top. It's rutted, bumpy and difficult, so don't take a car that sits too low or you'll lose the undercarriage).

My hiking buddy Janeson Keeley and I didn't hike many miles (probably a total walking time of an hour and a half or so), but the payoffs were generous with the rhododendron in full bloom. Both sides of North Mountain seem to have huge fields of the lovely mountain flower.
Another mountain, another overlook, another view.
Here I'm shooting a video for a magazine.

A small vista along a short trail.
Janeson looks over the ledge.
Rhododendron along the pathway.
And one final look.
(Photo of me by Janeson Keeley.)

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