Ascent of Mount Rogers in 2006-08
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Elevation:||5729 ft / 1746 m|
Ascent Trip ReportHaving sprained my knee the day before rushing up Backbone Mtn, I was harbouring serious doubts of being to make the 9 mile hike to Mt. Rogers and back. Fortunately, the next day found the knee to be in better condition. It still seriously stung occasionally while being quite sore most of the time, but I decided to try my luck with Rogers never the less.
The drive to the Grayson Highlands trailhead involved some really tricky switchbacks and sharp curves. Once there, I ascended the Rhodendron trail, which made a steep grade up the side of a hill for about half a mile before reaching the Appalachian Trail. The rest of the trip was well marked, with the AT's white blazes, and most of the hiking to the top of Rogers was pretty gentle.
Mt. Rogers Nat'l Recreation Area is home to apparently a wild pony range, and they were on full display at many points of the trail. The Wilburn Ridge approach ascends and descents several minor summits and the gentle pasture areas in between. It is only after making your way past a few of these bumps before Mt. Rogers is first visible. A golden summer haze covered the surrounding area, making the hike extremely aesthetic and beautiful.
The first view of Rogers was somewhat discouraging, as it appeared way beyond the horizon, but pretty soon I found myself nearing the final stretch to the summit, which involved a short spur off the AT to the top. The Mt. Rogers Spur Trail climbed gently into the wooded summit area, where it got really damp and muddy. After trudging for what appeared to be forever through the mud, the trail finally wound its way to the top of Virginia: a pile of rocks in a small clearing between the trees.
After a few pictures and lunch I made my return trip. The scenery never got old, and at one point I was surprised by two ponies who blocked the trail, a mother and a daughter. Having only seen these animals from a distance on the way to Rogers, I approached them apprehensively, leaving the trail to go around them. However, the baby pony decided to approach me and began nuzzling at my leg. Wary of the signs earlier discouraging contact with the ponies, I quickly went on my way after taking a few pictures.
Including lunch the top and time put aside for pony-gazing, I proudly did the math and realized that I had made the almost 9 mile round trip in less than 3 and a half hours, which was great, since I still planned to summit Black Mountain in Kentucky later in the day.
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