The Old Dominion

News from the TMB and a Hike in Virginia


We’re just back from the mountains of Virginia and we have good news regarding the Tour du Mont Blanc…the Refuge Flegere has accepted our reservation! This saves us from a lot of headaches on the final night of our hike.

We were greatly disappointed by the closing (hopefully temporary) of the Refuge Lac Blanc, perhaps the most scenic on the whole route. But the good news is, the La Flegere is just about As scenic…

Sylvia and I are now going over our lengthy equipment list to make sure everything is ship shape. We still have a few items to purchase. One thing to consider…power. All of our electronics require it, and outlets are going to be few and far between. Ones that will take a US friendly plug without the aid of an adapter, fewer and further still.


We went to Virginia with the intention of hiking the House Mountain Trail. We were successful…though the trail proved to be a bit more than we bargained for. This now makes six complete true mountain hikes this year…not including conditioning hikes right in the RTP area. We’re confident that this conditioning will help us on the TMB, though to what extent remains to be seen.

Every time we go to Virginia we end up being impressed by what we see…and seem to find something unexpected. I am used to thinking of the Old Dominion as the Tar Heel State’s more civilized, less wild cousin to the north. This is true to an extent, but not as much as I once thought. Even the very cultivated and established areas around the Shenandoah Valley have a lot of wild land remaining. Let’s hope every action is taken to keep it that way.



We did our hike on father’s day on what was the hottest weekend of the year so far. Maybe because of that, or maybe for no good reason at all, the entire area seemed to be deserted. With the exception of the campsites and canoe launches along the major rivers we saw almost no one. The usually packed Peaks of Otter was almost deserted…so much so that we were easily able to walk in on Saturday afternoon, honest to god, and get whatever site we wanted.



Some people don’t like car camping in developed campgrounds. I’m of two minds about it myself, but generally don’t mind it. It allows us to stage conveniently for big hikes. I’ve had some awful experiences with noisy and rude campers, but for the most part this happens when you fail to avoid the crowds. Last weekend, we got lucky. The crowds avoided us.

And, we were able to enjoy the sunset on the Blue Ridge Parkway almost by ourselves. We stood four almost forty minutes by the side of the road and I think at most five cars passed us. Where was everybody? Wherever they were I had no problem with them being there.

Not that I dislike people, by any means. But I don’t go to the wilderness for the social aspects. I go to be away from the pitfalls of urban and suburban life. Not re-enact them.


At any rate it was a heck of a sunset. Here some captured moments, from a lookout near Petites Ridge…






It was a worthy day to enjoy the simple pleasures of a long view. But the next day we had serious business to attend to.



Next Up: Sent to The Big House (Mountain)

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