Experience counts, especially in a fast changing world
After forty three years my wife and I hiked back to the spot on the Appalachian Trail where we got engaged. In 1973 my wife and I hiked and overnighted at one of the shelters on on AT. On the way out the next morning, we stopped at the black rock overlook and soaked in the energy of the mountains and the pristine views at the granit outcropping, just off of the trail. After we stopped, I asked my wife to be, when she was going to marry me. She said “When you ask me” and I said “I just did”. Thus begun a long love affair and an wonderful life together.
So after forty three years, we wanted to to go back to that particular spot and re-live the experience. As much as anything else, we wanted to ensure that we could still make the hike. We took this opportunity to stay at the Peaks Of Otter Inn, the night before our hike and then go visit my brother and his wife in Forest, Virginia after the hike. The area around the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Peaks of Otter is really nice and a great destination to experience the mountains in Virginia.
Forty three years ago, it was just a walk in the woods, however, this time it was a little rougher. We only had a rough idea that it would take about an hour to hike to the spur leading to the Black Rock overlook. We were able to park the car on the parking lot on the Parkway. The Appalachian Train is only about a quarter of a mile from the Parkway at this point. We hiked down to the trail head and saw the sign above.
We headed off and was surprised that this was a little bit more intense than just a walk in the woods. The path was well maintained making it easy to follow, however, in spots it was difficult due to the rocky and hilly terrain. It was great hiking again on the trail and being with my wife on the hike. She is such an intrepid person. Always positive and willing to try almost anything. She had not been on a hike in the woods in many years. We had been walking to get in shape, however, the trail was a bit different. It was hilly in spots and the path was strewn with rocks and roots. However, it was great being out in the woods and nature and seeing the many rock formations and the different trees and flowers.
There were several landmarks that we remembered from our first hike. One was the field of four foot ferns. Right along the trail, there is a large stand of forest ferns that we at least four feet high. We were so taken by this sight over forty years ago, that we remembered them and looked forward to seeing them again. And low and behold there they were! Even though so much has changed in our lives over the last forty-three years, much has remained the same.
After the fern “forest”, we were looking forward to the little stream that crossed the trail. I knew that the stream was close to the trail spur leading to the overlook. After we had trecked for over an hour, I was beginning to have my doubts and then finally we spotted the little stream that was now covered with a small set of stepping logs. I new knew we were close.
About ten minutes after the stream we came to the spur leading to black rock over look.As