The final leg of this particular journey was at Douthat State Park in western Virginia. We were back in familiar territory as we hiked through the mountainous Mid-Atlantic. It was clear that we were in the midst of summer’s swan song, as the bright yellows, reds and oranges of autumn were beginning to make their presence known. The leaves demonstrated only subtle changes but the mushrooms and toadstools were robed in a vibrant fall palette.
Douthat, located in the Allegany Highlands, has four separate campgrounds, one of which caters to equestrian campers. The park has over forty miles of hiking trials, most with elevation changes that lead you to scenic summits and stunning vistas. The trails are well marked, challenging but not difficult, and we stumbled upon a rustic, swinging bridge that was fun to traverse.
Among the woodland creatures you may have the good fortune to encounter, is our friend the black bear. We did not have the joy of meeting Smokey or her cubs, but a fellow hiker warned us that he had just escaped a close encounter with a bristly, mama bear and two of her offspring. We did not venture further forward. Suddenly, the campsite seemed a much better place to be.
The end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started.T.S. Eliot
Each ending is also a beginning. I am sad to say goodbye to another odyssey but delighted to be home and hugging the stuffing out of my grandkids.
There are new journeys in the planning stages.