A meeting in Abingdon yesterday was a perfect excuse to take a hike up to Virginia's highest peak, Mt. Rogers. My friend Misty and I left the meeting and headed toward Damascus, from there the road enters the national forest and the road is extremely curvy. I generally never get car sick but I was almost miserable winding back and forth on the curvy road. Another problem we found was there wasn't a whole lot of signs so we went on instinct. I just looked for the highest mountain and we followed the road that went in that direction. Eventually we started seeing signs for Whitetop Mountain but no mention of Mt Rogers. Finally we spotted a fire department along the road known as Mt Rogers rescue so we knew we were getting close. A road turned left up the backside of the massive mountain and wound through some beautiful Christmas tree farms. As we approached the top a parking lot adjacent to a large meadow had an information board in it. According to the board we were a four mile hike from the summit of Mt. Rogers, and I knew that we didn't have that kind of daylight to play with.
Besides being the highest peak in Virginia, Mt Rogers is also known for it's wild ponies that roam the grassy highlands. Misty was determined to find her a pony on our hike. I found plenty of pony poo but the ponies were nowhere to be found. The meadow is large and with your naked eye you can barely see from one end to the other. We followed the AT across the meadow before it wound into the woods and followed a ridgeline just off the left side of the crest. With no views in sight due to the trees, we decided it was best to turn and get back to our car and try the sister mountain to Mt Rogers, Whitetop Mountain. Here is a few shots from the pony fields and AT.
We drove back to the top of the mountain and took a dirt road that appeared to wind up Whitetop Mountain. The road was well maintained and wide enough not to make me nervous, even with Misty's driving. The views were spectacular as we wound up the mountain to the top where there was a large parking lot. As Misty was parking I had one foot out the door to try to get the perfect photo as the sun was quickly descending behind the mountains. I've always heard a picture is worth a thousand words so enjoy these photos from Whitetop Mountain, they're some of my favorite to date.