I had heard that this was a good weekend to head to Grayson Highlands for the blooming of rhododendron. We were in for an unexpected surprise. We had been here before, and we knew there were ponies. But, some of the ponies had just recently had babies. You could tell that there were still a couple of ponies that were just about ready to have their babies. Those bellies were huge.
Today we parked at the big Massie Gap parking area. We then headed up Rhododendron Trail. I’ve read that it’s only 1/2 mile to the top. And, I’ve read that it’s 8/10 of a mile to the top. Don’t let me saying “to the top” make you think that this is a difficult trail. It’s a pretty easy trek to the top.
After we had some fun photographing the ponies and babies, when we arrived at the split, we took off to the left. This is a horse trail that takes you to the state park boundary where the trail crosses over and you can continue on to Mount Rogers. From Rhododendron trail, it’s probably 1/2 mile or so to the boundary. We didn’t cross through and keep on going. We turned this into a loop walk by following the trail that says “to Massie Gap parking area”. This has you walking on the Appalachian Trail.
When we arrived back at the fork, instead of heading back down to the car, we kind of headed straight on this section of the Appalachian Trail. As stated previously, the rhododendron were blooming. It was really cool because as you were taking this section of the trail, there were all kinds of side trails and you could just walk through the rhododendrons and wildflowers.
When we got to the big rock that people are always climbing on, which was probably only about 3/10 of a mile or so from the fork, we took off to the right on a trail below the rocks. We have never climbed all the way to the top of the rocks. There are all kinds of little trails through here, and we’ve always found it a challenge trying to figure out how to get on top of the rocks. So, we just meander through the bushes below the rocks, and then end up on a trail that takes us back down to Rhododendron Trail.
As we were heading out on this trail, we ran across the ponies and their babies again. I had a little issue with one of the ponies. For some reason, it just kept on trying to eat my jeans. After I finally got away from that crazy little pony, we came upon a gal that was plopped down on the ground, and the little pony had it’s head in her lap. It was so cute.
After we finished hanging around here, we headed back to the car. As you’ll see in the photos, there are some pretty views as you are heading back down to the parking area.
I’m including a couple of links. Here is a good map of the park. http://www.graysonfriends.org/text/Grayson%20Highland%20guide.pdf
Then, here is my post from August of last year. On this day, it was cool, foggy, and we had another surprise. Along with the ponies, there were steer. https://rangerannette.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/mouth-of-wilson-va-grayson-highlands-state-park/
Here are our photos from today. Run your cursor over each for a brief description.
Address for GPS: Grayson Highland Lane, Mouth of Wilson, VA