Back in the day of living in North Carolina, my friends and I tried to go backpacking at least once a month. Occasionally A-ha and I would squeeze an extra trip or two in each month, but as a group we'd go once. This month we went to the tried and true Grayson Highlands of Virginia. If you've never been, GO. The raw, natural beauty of this place could make a believer out of the most devout atheist. I've always felt closer to God out in woods. I don't know why. I feel out of place in a church, but in the wilderness its almost like He is there hiking with me. Ann got me a really nice compact Bible that I carried with me all summer on every trip I took. I would read it while relaxing in my hammock every night. Just thinking about it makes me miss it even more.On to the trip! We had seven guys on this hike, my assistant scoutmaster Dennis, my good buddy Derek, then the usual Fat, A-ha, Grady, Puffy, and myself. We stopped in Chick-fil-a and grabbed a bite to eat before heading out, and as we left they were giving away free gallon sweet teas! They gave each of us one! SEVEN GALLONS OF SWEET TEA!!! It was awesome!!! We arrived up at Grayson Highlands State Park at night, as we always do on group trips, and this particular trip was exceptionally foggy. We set up shop just north of the Wise shelter. After setting up our shelters and making dinner, we hit the hay. We got up the next morning, heading to Scales where we ate lunch. From there we hiked up the Crest Trail to Rhodendron Gap and then on to Thomas Knob.
Up on Thomas Knob we dipped into Fat's "stash". Being a glutton for punishment, Fat always carries a sixty pound pack, regardless of how short the trip. On this particular hike, he carried out a half-gallon of Captain Morgan's spiced rum. This is probably going to sound a little disgusting, but Captain Morgan's and Crystal Lite makes for a pretty tasty drink. If you use freshly filtered water it is actually pretty cold and fairly refreshing. We built a fire, made dinner, worked on the rum, and had a good campfire conversation.
After a little reading and then some sleep, we got up, broke camp, and headed for our ritual destination after a Mount Rogers. The Log House restaurant for some LOG DOGS!!! These things are amazing! Quarter pound hotdog with chili, mustard, onions, and slaw....mmmm...mmmm...good! I've hiked in that park a million times and that is where we always finish! Check'em out!
After lunch we drove a little further up the rode, busted out the bibs and helmets, then headed below the surface into Robert's Cave. This cave has two entrances, one you can walk in and then there is the "mole hole", a small tunnel you have to crawl on your belly. Much better way to feed the need for adventure! After we crawled around the cave for an hour, we washed up in the creek across the road and headed home! This was probably one of my favorite trips, just given all the fun we had and the good group of guys we had go with us!