Between commitments at home and at work its been difficult to break away to hike since before Christmas. I managed to escape for a day to get back on the trail. I decided to pick up where I left off last year and planned a day hike with my son along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Roanoke.
The weather forecast predicted a 50% chance of rain late in the day, so we started out early. We arrived at the trailhead at Taylors Mountain Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway and were surrounded by the low hanging clouds. There did not seem to be a whole lot of hope for any views today. The wind was blowing up over the east side of the ridge caused us to bundle up against the chill. We agreed on our goal and started north.
The hike would take us over a few knobs and through 2 more overlooks on the way to the Hammond Hollow Trail 3.2 miles away. There were quite a few rocks on the trail especially at the ridge line where the resistant rock is exposed. None of the climbs on this stretch were too bad but the downs were made a bit more treacherous with the damp and leaves on the trail. We stopped for lunch just short of the trail junction and made it to our turnaround goal by 11:30.
The trip back went quickly and as we got closer to the car, the cloud ceiling raised up and allowed us some views on both sides of the trail. Being our first hike of the year, both of us were tired and ready to return home. A good start to AT hiking in 2011!