Hike at Raven’s Rock

Last Sunday, my friend April and I went for a hike out at Raven’s Rock by Bluemont, VA, where Virginia and West Virginia meet. Another blogger had mentioned that he would be hiking there with a hiking club on Veteran’s Day weekend, so I thought to look up the spot. It’s a five and a half mile out-and-back hike exclusively on the Appalachian Trail, and it has an expansive vista at the top.

We got a late start and arrived at the parking lot at just past 11:30. We discovered that the small gravel lot can accommodate about a dozen cars, assuming people park snugly. Luckily, we were able to just barely wedge ourselves in without blocking other cars’ exits. We didn’t notice until our departure a few hours later that there’s a larger overflow lot on the other side of the main road, within probably less than a quarter mile.

They’ll get you if you run in a straight line. Scatter!

This trail was narrow throughout, not allowing faster hikers to pass easily, and unfortunately for us, we began exactly when a (loud) group of about a dozen and a half people started. (No offense to my fellow blogger if you were part of this group!) April and I spent the next hour and a half trying to stay ahead of the group, as the hikers slinkey-ed their way up to the vista. Several people would pass, sandwiching us in the middle of the group, and then they’d take a break, during which we’d move on.

There was nothing peaceful about the experience until we decided to play a game. Maybe you’ve heard of it? It’s called Zombie Apocalypse. It’s really easy to learn. This is how it goes: just pretend that the large group of hikers behind you is a pack of zombies chasing after you to eat your brain. Now run! Run for your lives!

Follow the white blaze? OK. Oh wait, both of my ankles are supposed to join the party?

This approach worked for a while until I wore out on the pace and became increasingly concerned about falling or twisting an ankle. (And, let me tell you, my calves were paying for our little game the next day.) The stretch of trail was particularly rocky, and the fallen leaves made the path slick throughout. Once we slowed down, we switched gears, letting the group pass and waiting a few minutes before continuing on. From that point on, the hike up to the vista was pleasant.

At the top, the view was expansive, or at least I think it was. The large group was spread out on the rock from which I would have been able to really take it all in. Sigh. I know they were hiking to socialize, but their size and volume were a bit unwieldy considering the space available. We snapped a few photos, had a snack, and headed back from whence we came. April waited until we were at a solid distance before telling me she saw someone in the group litter by throwing a banana peel off the trail. Double sigh.

What a gorgeous day for an eclipsed view. I’m starting to sound bitter, aren’t I? OK, I’ll tone it down.

Once the noise of the group was behind us, we spotted two wild chocolate turkeys, a lighter female and a darker male. They approached us cautiously and then without regard. We took advantage of the situation and captured them, wrapping them in plastic, ya know, for their own protection. I mean, that group was right behind us, and they would have surely killed the poor naive chocolate turkeys. We had to save them!

What? Your Costco doesn’t have a chocolate shop where you can watch them mold Belgian chocolate into 3-pound turkeys? I’m going to miss my Costco.

The hike back we took at a slower pace and got to enjoy our surroundings. It’s amazing how quickly the environment changes. Just two weeks ago when I hiked at Bull Run, the trees were a vibrant yellow. Now, in a spot nearby, the leaves have fallen, indicating that winter is all but upon us. And, I couldn’t help but think, in a few short months I’ll be starting my trek in Georgia and making my way back in the direction of Spring weather and Virginia and Raven’s Rock and maybe even chocolate turkeys.

Meandering on,

Jordana

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12 thoughts on “Hike at Raven’s Rock

  1. You can never go wrong with an authentic mountain hike ; it really connects you to everything, without even realizing it! Glad you had a great time out in nature :))

      • My friend Andrea and I had a similar experience this past weekend. After hiking for two hours to get to the top for a view of Howe Sound (north of Vancouver) we came upon 2 large groups of Koreans..about 50 in all. We scurried past them a few at a time on the way down to get ahead but it was a little crazy considering the ice on the trail. They were cautiously picking their way with hiking poles and we were almost dancing by them leaping over small streams. The jig would have been up if we slipped. Thankfully we did not. Once we left the group behind it was peace again.

  2. I know nature is open to all, but I am with you that it can be disappointing when you have no escape from a boisterous group out enjoying nature with perhaps a different agenda than you. Hard to soak up the quiet beauty of nature if there is a constant hum of activity on your tail. I am going to keep my eye out for those wild chocolate turkeys on our next nature hike! ~ Kat

  3. Pingback: Contest Winner or I promise I’m not a jerk. « My Meandering Trail

  4. Your hike was a good location for training, the north end of Virginia’s Roller Coaster has plenty of elevation changes. I hiked through there on Monday, the trail gets considerably easier to the north of Raven’s Rock.

    After you start thru-hiking, you’ll soon be able to fly past any hiking groups that you come across 🙂

    • Oh, that’s good to hear. I was under the impression that Virginia was supposed to be easier terrain.

      I think it’ll take me a while to get in the “passing lane.” I’m much more of a tortoise than a hare.

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