Peaks of Otter - Blue Ridge Parkway | April 18, 2015

Monday, April 20, 2015

At the top of Sharp Top Mountain with the view of Abbott Lake
Happy National Parks weekend! We spent ours in the good 'ol outdoors! I didn't even know it was National Park weekend until John mentioned it! He said "How perfect is it that were headed to Blue Ridge Parkway on National Parks weekend?!" Haha! Anyway, this was the trip we were suppose to go on a month ago and had to postpone due to surgery. I cant believe its been a month! This trip almost didn't happen because something came up, but Im so glad it did! Ok, back to our trip... We got a late start to our day. My original plan was to leave before sunrise because it was a 4 hour drive and I didn't want to hike at noon with the expected weather to be 80 degrees! It was definitely a long drive, I was starting to get carsick. If you didn't know, I used to get car sick as a kid and has sorta grown out of it. However, when there are a lot of zig-zags on the road, I start to get queasy! So I decided to nap but couldn't breathe because of all the pollen clouds we were driving through! Oh my goodness, if we had put the windows down I would've been dead. Haha! We arrived at the Blue Ridge Parkway area around 11, and got to our actual destination, Peaks of Otter, at exactly noon and decided to rest for a bit before hiking. 

Could not have survived this hike without our hydroflask! I love cold water and that thing kept it ice cold the whole time!
We found a spot near the lake and ate our snacks and hung out at Abbott Lake and waited til about 1:30 to start our hike up Sharp To. I was sort of dreading the heat, but it was surprisingly breezy and not hot at all. There were a lot of people! I read on the reviews that there usually is around this time of the year with Liberty University not too far away, there were a lot of college folks! We also bumped into a lot of families, kids, and older people. My favorite part about hiking is how friendly everyone is and greets you as you pass each other. You dont get a lot 'Hellos' just walking down the street everyday. I had to bring a hiking stick with me because I was having back pains and needed some support, so the night before our hike John bought both of us sticks. I felt like an old person, but Im glad I had it because it helped a lot when going up the steeper and rockier parts of the mountain. 

The trail was only a 1.5miles hike up. Its a strenuous hike because of how steep some areas are and how rocky and narrow they were. We had to stop a couple of times because I was having weird cramps. Im sure it would have only taken us an hour and a half or less if I didn't need a few breaks and us wandering to different areas of the mountain, but it took us about 1 hour and 45 minutes, give or take. Haha! When we past the half way mark, John started hearing a stream and was curious to find out where it was coming from. So of course he climbs rocks and looks for the water. It gave me time to sit and rest though! I was hoping to bump into a deer so I can get a close up pic of it for my sister, but we didnt spot any animals on our way up. We reached the crossroad between Buzzards Roost and Sharp Top at around 2:20pm. I dont know why we didnt check out Buzzards Roost because I heard it was pretty neat too. We were about 580 meters away from the top of the summit and I thin thats why we decided to just keep going. We reach the top of the mountain about 3:00 and there were a lot of people up there, we were lucky to have found an empty rock to rest and set out stuff on. Best part was that it was the view of Abbott Lake! Upon reaching the top, you'll first be greeted by a sign and then more steps which leads you to the Stone House (someone actually used to live there!) and the Sharp Top sign explaining the history of it. You'll also be greeted by a lot of bugs! Lol! Flies, bees and flying creatures ive never seen before! John says he assumes someone probably have littered or threw up somewhere but it was hard to enjoy at first because of all the bees and flies surrounding you! I assumed it was because the weather was starting to warm up again and bugs are out! But we ignored them and we ended up staying at the top for 30-45 minutes enjoying the view. The 360 degree view of Shenandoah Mountains and Blue Ridge was enough reason to enjoy it. It was beautiful. A good way to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city.

John wasn't mad, he was just hot. Haha!

We got back to the parking lot around 4:30. The hike down is always easier and quicker. It definitely wasn't as long as White Oak/Cedar Canyon at Shenandoah National Park, and dint have crazy natural water slides and waterfalls and places for us to cliff jump, but the view on top was rewarding. We were suppose to hike a few more trails in this area, like Flat Top Mountain, but we decided not to stay the night and go home instead, because we left Pax at home. We really wanted to go camping, but according to the website the campgrounds aren't available for use until May. So we'll most likely be back by then. Blue Ridge Parkway has a lot of trails along Virginia and North Carolina, so we have plenty more to see. Luckily for us, were here for a few more years! 

We encourage everyone to get out and enjoy the outdoors. A lot of times we get so caught up in our daily life that we forget to take a break and take time for ourselves. Enjoy the little things. This trip didnt cost us a thing, except gas. So get out of the busy city and explore the free resources around us, nature! Its good for you! 

'Til our next adventure,
The Hugos

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