We navigated through most of Ashe County. At the wide place in the road that claims the name of the town of Sturgills we turned northwest and drove a twisty, narrow road beside a big, rocky creek to the Virginia border. From there we drove west on US Hwy 58 to the Park entrance. Along the way we saw several ground hogs and deer, including a tiny baby deer that looked no bigger than a small dog.
At the top of the mountain in the middle of the park we entered the Visitor Center to shop for a hiking staff badge and adjust clothes out of the rain. Then we proceeded up the trail. Parts of the path were considerable steeper, rockier and more rugged than I remembered. Or, maybe I am just getting older, more crotchety and all trails look worse to me. The rain made the rocks and mud slick, so I needed my hiking staff. Duh. I exited the Jeep in such a hurry that I left the staff behind. Another lesson learned to practice patience.
My hip replacement surgery seems to have totally recuperated. But I went for the last year and a half with almost no hard exercise, so my stamina and conditioning are poor. I am still slow and get out of breath fairly easily. I am striving to get them back.
On the way home we stopped in the small town (no stop lights) of Lansing and went in a smaller pizza shop. We ordered coffee (which hit the spot!), beer (another spot satisfied), hot wings and chicken alfredo pizza. A good time was had by all.