Monday, October 12, 2009

Grayson Highlands

This weekend we decided to check out the Grayson Highlands State park. Besides it's scenic views and great hiking trails, it is also known for the wild ponies that freely roam the confines of the park. It is only about 70 miles from us, and i'm not sure why we haven't hiked here before. We are very accustomed to traveling an hour or so to go just about anywhere.
Oddly enough, we had just gotten out of our car when i ran into a girl i know, who had just finished hiking and was on her way home. She clued us in to where we could see a mama and baby pony on the Rhododendron trail.
When we first approached the trail head, we saw this sign. Wow! They were not kidding! The temperature on the balds really dropped! Thank goodness, i had decided to grab the kids sweatshirts on our way out the door..or we would have froze. Regardless, we were very under dressed. Next time we know better. :)

We took the Rhododendron trail, which is only about a mile. Up here on the rocks, we had a good view of the plains and were able to spot several of the grazing ponies. We saw the mama and baby not too far from us, and a couple other ponies farther up the trail.

We headed down the trail to get a closer look.

The wild ponies, were very accustomed to hikers and were not really very 'wild'. The came right up to us and followed us along the trail for a while.

We only hiked a little bit further before coming to a more ponies. We were all freezing at this point, and it had started to rain so we decided to head back and not finish the trail. Once we left the balds and returned to Massie gap, the rain had turned into more of a mist...and the temperature was about 10 warmer! So we decided to continue hiking on one of the other trails.

We chose the Cabin Creek Trail which is only about a 2 mile loop, and is follows a creek through the forest and is supposed to have waterfalls.

The scenery and colors were breath taking! The kids enjoyed pointing out all the pretty leaves on the forest floor.

The trail was gorgeous, the hike was moderate difficulty. Not exactly strenuous, but it was very rocky and everything was covered in slippery wet leaves. It seemed like a good trail for twisting an ankle or slipping and breaking something.

We saw several nice waterfalls. This one behind us is a split stream that tumbles 25 feet over the rocks into a clear, dark pool. It is much larger than it looks in the picture. Farther up the trail was an even taller one, but i was unable to get a good picture of it because of all the foliage. None of the falls were spectacular, but they were all still worth seeing, and the hike itself was really nice. There are many more trails here at Grayson Highlands, and we will definitely be back to hike here again.


Lisa said...

So beautiful and wild ponies too. Very enchanting minus the drastic temp. change.


Kelly said...

What a fantastic nature spot to enjoy. Just the sort of place we would love to visit. The wild ponies are wonderful and the vibrant leaves. Beautiful pictures!

kate said...

Wow! Looks like quite a magical place!!

Goddess Leonie * said...

thank you so much for sharing this magical place and journey with us... what a gift :)

so much love to you