Vince: Grayson Highlands...
"Why can't we just fun camp?"
I see the hand, I know the need.
We are going to Grayson Highlands State Park and Mount Rogers High Country over spring break. It looks every bit a "fun camping" playground.
If you don't know fun camping, it is not thru-hiking. Fun camping is piling in all the comfort camping items you would leave behind to go when going fast and going light is paramount. It is the extra speaker so you can pair them for the campfire music. It is the pillow and the lantern and the smores. Its all those things lugged short mileage into a nice comfortable base camp from which you day hike to only (very) nearby sights if you so desire. Who knows, you may just desire to stretch a hammock and laze about while the kids play nearby. But it's not walking.
Grayson Highlands should be fun.
I see a map full of creeks and that's Henry country.
I see pictures of vista's that Monica and I and whoever else we can roust from their slumber can scramble to greet the sunrise.
When the A.T. was in the mix for our thru-hike, Grayson Highlands was the carrot for the June-bug. My animal lover would have walked from Maine to southern Virginia with one thing on her mind, the wild ponies of Grayson Highlands. She will light up when she sees them, and that isn't a guess.
Above all we can invite friends, and we will have some Gibsons and Caswells along for this one. It will be Khloe and Katie's first backpacking trip. They are young enough that hiking for miles isn't an option. My kids have been excited about the limitation their presence will put on me, because fun camping doesn't include a lot of miles.
"Sorry about your luck, Dad!"
We are still have some gear questions to answer before our big trip. (Yes, the fun camping record just scratched and screeched).
My shoe alternate is a New Balance. I have a right toe/bunion mangled mishmash of problematic ugliness that is sure to plague me unless I get the footwear dialed in. The Altra Lone Peak 3.5's that the fine folks at Fitniche put me in were fantastic on the Florida Trail. Zero problems, but only 2 pair available in a size 16 in these United States. So we need to test an alternate.
Georgie has a new pack. She outgrew her Osprey and the hip belt has been rubbing her skin raw as a result. Her new pack is promising, but is untested.
And it takes MILES to test these kind of things.
"Sorry about your luck, kids."
Dax, "Mr. Gibson to you kids", is preaching on the Sunday that kicks off the spring break week, so we are going to sneak out of town early with the Caswells and park 20 miles outside of our destination and walk a small stretch of the A.T. If the Caswells are not able to join for the first part, there will be cries of treachery, a sure mutiny. So, I am hoping Luchrysta and company will join in the early suffering to improve my odds of survival.