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Rank VI

Pathfinder II

Safety Harbor, FL, USA
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Date: 29, March 2017
Weather: 75º and perfect

So this post isn't exactly about a trip I took in my truck, however it was most certainly overlanding, though through a very small stretch of land.

I took a bike ride through a 13 mile section of the Blue Ridge Mountains (I think more accurately the Appalachian Mountains) in Virginia. Mount Rodgers to be specific. This was an AWESOME adventure. I did it in one day and wish I could have spent at least 1 night camping.

There are clear (though unofficial) camp sites along the trail next to the rivers and in the forest as well as official designated campsites as the Creeper trail intersects with the Appalachian Trail.

Our starting point was Whitetop Station:

It was beautiful day and we (myself, my wife, our business partner and his parents) started at about 2:30. The weather was perfect and the company even more perfect. You start off pumping your legs for a little bit while you're carried over one of the last uphills you'll pedal. Not but a 1,000 feet later you are over the top and coasting down the mountain. During our downhill adventure, you go over old train bridges and you have to stop and look over the side. I recommend looking at the first bridge you come to. You see the history in those massive beams designed to hold the weight of a coal driven steam train. It rather awe-inspiring when you think that this bridge, at this height was practically hand built!

Something I learned while on my little adventure, the Creeper National Recreation Trail is part of "Rails to Trails" initiative that converts old railroad tracks in to useable trails for running, biking, walking, hiking, etc. You can find out more about them on their website here.

You pass around, by and over so many different turns in the river that I'm not sure if it was the same one or not! But there are plenty of opportunities to stop and look. Or if you really want there are places to dive in to the cold water rushing down the mountain! We, however... opted to stay dry.

There are so many beautiful spots and photo opportunities that we simply had to enjoy the moments as we rode our bikes past them.

By the time you are done (and you'll feel done too if you're not in peak form!) you end your ride in the town of Damascus, Virginia. But just before you arrive in to the downtown area of Damascus, the Appalachian Trail splits off of the Creeper Trail to wind it's own way through the forests of the mountains. One day I would like to hike that trail, or at least part of it!

We finished the day off with a dinner at a friends house with some of the best home cooking I've ever eaten. Roast chicken, broccoli cheddar soup, green beans, roasted potatoes, corn on the cob, biscuits and finished off with an apple dumping desert, ALL of it hand made from scratch and much of it from her own garden. Her friends call her Debbie, but I call her a food magician.