Practically in West Virginia

Posted by Meg

Looking west towards our sister state

Looking west towards our sister state

Sunday was another cousin hiking adventure. We met outside of Woodstock, VA, a small little town that borders West Virginia. We hiked a circuit known as Little Schloss, a solid 13.5 miles with a variety of terrains and great views of both Virginia and West Virginia. You know, West Virginia gets a bad rap. It’s actually a really beautiful state.

Our view on Little Sluice Mountain Trail at the beginning of the hike.

Our view on Little Sluice Mountain Trail at the beginning of the hike.

As with any other cousin hike, the two of us got lost. Even before we started out, we got lost finding the trail head. The coordinates listed on Hiking Upward were wrong, so we spent an hour driving along random gravel roads in the George Washington Forest until we found the brilliant purple blazes.

When you're lost in the woods, finding this sign of life is not totally comforting.

When you’re lost in the woods, finding this sign of life is not totally comforting.

Then when we were actually on the trail, we got lost. Several times. It required two maps and a GPS iPhone app to ensure we stayed on track. This proves that as much as we joke about it, we still don’t qualify as “mountain women.” We do better on team hikes when someone else is managing the map, and all we have to do is gab and move our legs in the direction of the rest group!

We’re exactly one month out to the big day. Mileage is going to keep going up these next few weekends. Our next team hike is in two weeks in Roanoke, so this coming weekend, Genevieve and I need to figure out another hike to do. Maybe this time we should acquaint ourselves with the map before we actually get on the trail!

Mt. Pleasant CFF Team Hike

View from the Top

View from the Top

Posted by Meg

Yesterday I learned that Mt. Pleasant wasn’t just a suburb of Charleston, SC and that the proper pronunciation of  Buena Vista is “Bew-na Vista” (and not “Bwain-a Vista”). Although I’ve lived in Virginia for 9 years, I am still learning things about my state every week. Hiking all over the place this summer is providing lots of these opportunities.

We had our first team training hike this weekend. Seven Xtreme hikers and our guide gathered 9:30 on Saturday at Mount Pleasant in the George Washington Forest. It was  awesome to finally meet some of the other participants taking this “journey” with Genevieve and me. We came from all over the state — Northern Virginia, Lynchburg, Richmond, Va Beach.

The hike was about a six mile loop and provided some amazing views. Lots of ups-and-downs in the shaded woods brought us to two different overlooks, allowing views for miles.

This is a great trail that I’d definitely recommend to anyone wanting to do a half-day hike. Legs are sore today, but not too bad. Next team hike is July 13th. Woo. Go team!

afterhike_mtpleasant

First team hike

Trail Maps Can Be Misleading

Stream in the Prince William Forest

Prince William Forest

Posted by Meg

We should probably explain that we actually don’t live in the same area. Meg lives in Richmond, while Genevieve currently lives in Northern Virginia (though, she is from Richmond, and Meg is hoping desperately that she will decide to move back). Thus, the two of us have to plan our hiking “meet-ups” accordingly.

Last Saturday, we planned a hike together in the Prince William Forest. It is actually only one of a few hiking spots off of I-95, in between NoVA and RVA. The trail guide indicated it was 7 miles, which is right along the lines of where we should be in our weekend training.

Wildlife in the Prince William Forest

We found a few froggies. But luckily missed the rattlesnake that the group in front of us warned us about.

The hike was lovely — a relatively cool summer morning was enhanced by a path that included a lot of shade. The hike did not include scenic views, but you did get a lot of opportunities to walk along streams. It was also fairly quiet, considering we were just off of 95, near Quantico. (If you’re familiar with DC traffic, you know it can be terrible right about there.)

The one qualm we would have about the experience is the way the trails were marked. Now, we are relatively novice when it comes to all of this trail map stuff, but two trails in the same forest were marked “blue” — one was a slightly lighter shade of blue. We did not realize it at the time, so leave it to us to continue onto the WRONG “blue” trail. Yep. We got lost. And our hike was cut short. (We’d like to say it was cut by only by a mile, but looking back at the map now, it could’ve been more.)

Also, we learned the importance of properly fitting hiking boots. Meg got a terrible blister, and had to turn her hiking boots into clogs before it was all over. Quite the fashion statement.

Hiking "clogs"

Hiking “clogs”

We’d do this trail again, but would pay closer attention to the map.