Thursday 28th July, 4pm
Sitting on the balcony again, this time with a nice cup of Earl Grey. That’s one of the advantages of self-catering, you can make a proper cup of tea rather than the mug of tepid water with a teabag on the side that you are served in restaurants. I’m exhausted. Today we decided to climb to the top of Blood Mountain – well, I feel you can’t avoid it if you are staying half way up, it’s only polite. The Appalachian Trail goes over it – we’ve crossed the AT several times already but not actually hiked any of it, though we did some when we were in Shenandoah a few years ago. It’s over 2 miles up and, rather than coming straight back down we decided to continue on the AT for a while then take the Freeman Trail, a link which would return us to the AT more or less back where we started, making a loop of 7 miles. It wasn’t my favourite hike ever. The summit of Blood Mountain is surrounded by trees (although there are views just before it – too hazy for pictures of course) and as for the Freeman Trail: 1.8 miles of scrambling up and down over tree roots and rocks and no views at all. (The picture shows Blood Mountain taken the next day from a viewpoint on the highway.) Mind you, it was on the easy AT return that I managed to trip and fall over a root. Two skinned elbows and a grazed knee. At least we didn’t meet any snakes or bears.
10.30pm. Lasted a bit longer tonight. Delicious veggie chilli cooked by John, red wine and a film watched on the tiny TV. Time for bed.