Just because I’m married to a currently immobile guy with a tri-malleolar ankle fracture and just because the previous posts about our spring trip along and about the Blue Ridge Parkway make it seem we are about 85 years old, I will now attempt to recapture the bits of vim and vigor that we exhibited during the 9 day vacation and prove that we didn’t spend all of our time being old fuddy-duddies looking at spectacular views from the comfort of our car. In other words, we did get some use out of the outdoorsy clothing we purchased at REI right before we headed west. And isn’t that what vacations are for?

So staying at the old-style and historic Martha Washington Hotel and Spa in charming Abingdon, Virginia doesn’t do much to put us in the adventurous and young and wild category, but lingering at such a posh place has the advantage of making us feel young and vibrant compared to the age-range of the other ancient guests.  Lounging in their most perfect two-level hot tub–bluestone-trimmed and boiling–didn’t hurt either.

But to deserve the good food and hot tub, we hit the Virginia Creeper Trail first, renting bikes and getting a shuttle to the top of the 34 mile trail from the friendly folks at Adventure Damascus. From Whitetop Station, it’s 17 miles of downhill beauty back to Damascus. We decided to sneak back another mile or so to the very beginning of the trail at the VA/NC border to give the other cyclists in our shuttle time to get out of our way.  Plus I just like the idea of being in two states at once.

Getting my money's worth out of the new jacket in two states at once

It was really the beginning, and we loved every bit of the ride–careening too fast sometimes and realizing it in time to avoid hitting a rock that could have sent at least one of us tumbling down a ravine–and stopping now and again on the trestles that pass over the rambling Laurel Creek that rushes more like a river than a creek. Had the skies not been threatening, we would have tarried longer at some of the waterfalls.

one of many

Another time. I would ride the trail again in a heartbeat. It is a perfect amalgamation of nature and nurture, and by that I mean there are occasional, really adorable bathrooms on the trail that mimic old train stations in the little hamlets along the way. I’d like to ride the trail all the way to Abingdon–another 17 miles from Damascus and get a chocolate milkshake from Pop Ellis Soda Shoppe upon arrival. Next time. I’ll do almost anything for a good milkshake.

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