Monday, August 11, 2014

Middle Mountain Hike! (Part One)

Carole and I spent the first day of our trip settling in to our campsite and giving the park a good review. We had opted to stay at Douthat State Park in a section of the Virginia mountains that we'd never visited. This park is almost like a summer camp in the way that the management team has so many cool things going on for park visitors. There are all types of guided and un-guided activities for visitors of every age and physical capabilities. You can hike to the top of a mountain or just sit and chill at your campsite. Go swimming. Kayaking. Paddleboating. Fishing. Horesback riding. Guided tours with a park naturalist. Playgrounds for the kids. Etc.

Douthat was one of the six original state parks in Virginia and was assembled largely through the efforts of the old Civilian Conservation Corps, a wonderful socialist program that should be reinstated. All of the park infrastructure was placed there by the CCC.

On our second day in Douthat I chose to take a long hike (about a 13-mile loop) that would take me past what I was told was a great waterfall, to the summit of Middle Mountain, past a great overlook, and then down the mountainside through cove hardwood forests and back to the campground. I got started on my hike precisely at 10:00 am and had only to walk away from the campsite to the trailhead about 100 yards away. The weather was cool and I decided that two quarts of water and some snacks would be sufficient for the round trip.

Our campsite at the park. Very nice!

Typical scene along the hike. A fire had passed through this part of the forest some time in the recent past. Maybe a year or so before from the looks of things. I suspect it was part of a prescribed burn.

I saw this tiny fellow on the trail and shooed him off into the forest. He was extremely small. No larger than the nail on my pinkie finger.

Yes, it was the first week of August, but a few trees seemed eager to move ahead with Autumn.

I came to this overlook with a view down toward the lake.

There was no flow at the falls. Alas!

They got the "suck" part right.

I would bet this bench was constructed by the CCC from local material. Under normal circumstances you could sit there and watch the beauty of the waterfall. Alas, there was no water...only a rocky face.

This fellow as fluttering on the trail. At the end of his mortal coil. I hope he was able to breed before coming to this spot to die.

As I climbed higher up the slopes of Middle Mountain, I began to see some nice views along the trail.
Continued tomorrow....

No comments: