After taking out the recycling, boy and I sacked out on the couch, enjoying the air conditioned respite from the 95F temps outside.

And then came the topic of hiking.

"It's hot."
"It's 5-10 degrees cooler in the mountains."
"It's still hot."
"There's a breeze."
"It's really hot."

And so forth. Finally, we decided that the air conditioned car ride to our mountain destination would be just as enjoyable as sitting at home. So then came the decision of where to hike:
[ profile] explodingcat wanted to sit on a rock and write.
I wanted to hike.
He wanted to hike, but not too far or too hard . . . and mostly for the dog's sake.

So I hauled out one of the AT sectional maps. I suggested the Glass Hollow Overlook, he agreed, and we were off. On a crisp winter day, you can see the mountains clearly from Charlottesville. Today, they were hazy from Crozet: pale outlines silhouetted against a white sky.

We parked at Humpback Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Instead of taking the death march to the Rocks (right hand path), we chose the blue-blazed trace of the Old Howardsville Turnpike. The Turnpike was a road which led over the Blue Ridge from the Shenandoah Valley (farmfields) to the James River Canal System, at Howardsville. I enjoy walking traces--there are often old walls, old ruts, and the sunken hollow of a very old path so many folks before me have traveled.

Sure enough, the woods were comfortably shady, breezy, and green. I did see evidence of drought--the spiderwort isn't faring well at all. When native flora is suffering, you know the water situation is dire.

After about 2/10 of a mile, we hit the AT. The AT South followed the road trace, but we were heading north, toward our destination. It was a pretty easy hike below the ridge of Dobie Mountain. Lots of black cohosh, snakeroot, stonecrop, and hairy goatstongue. I saw some whorled loosestrife, but neglected to get our picture.

We found our spur trail to the overlook after 8/10 of a mile and hiked down down down. Along the way, we passed some Indian Pipe, which will surely make it up on flickr in the near future. Jericho ran ahead, eager to explore.

The overlook was perfect for a hot day: Jutting out into the wind, but still shaded by trees. The rocks were reasonably flat, comfy for sitting. The ant, sweat bee, and black fly population was a bit high for my liking, but the worst of all? TINY little gnats that BIT. I had a lightweight long-sleeve shirt, though, so I was able to save my skin.

Boy wrote and I read. We watch a turkey vulture spiraling through the updrafts. We admired the trees of Glass Hollow and surrounding mountains. The Rockfish River Valley, beyond the opposite ridge, was a hazy patchwork of farms and forests.

Eventually, we decided to head back. We returned to the AT and again headed north 2/10 of a mile, to the intersection with the Dobie Mountain Trail. Turning south on that trail, we hiked for a mile back to the parking area. It was a gorgeous day for a hike in the shady coolness. I think this hike will remain a favorite, especially in winter, when the entire AT stretch should provide views of hollows and valleys.

Originally uploaded by jocelyndale.
Yeah. I finally opened an account.

December 2016

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