We spent Veterans Day weekend hiking in the mountains. The trees at higher elevations are bare now, but the foothills still cradle a few colorful remnants:
Two weeks ago flaming leaves covered the slopes. Now? They don’t call these moody mountains the Blue Ridge for nothing.
If you notice a nationwide oxygen shortage, blame us. We used it all climbing these peaks.
We love camping and originally planned to sleep in a tent. As the date drew closer temperature predictions dropped. Many state and national forests began closing campgrounds for the winter, limiting our options. Work picked up, and hunting for an open campsite and preparing for below-freezing camping while juggling deadlines and house projects started sounding exhausting rather than fun. Area cabins were astronomically expensive – the cheapest started at $250 for the first night. Finally I called a state park that offered cabins at $115/$125 a night just to see if they had military discounts or availability as backup housing. Not only did they offer a 15-25% discount for military personnel, they were also having a 50% off sale on all cabin reservations.
We booked a cozy mountain cabin nestled in the woods with a living room, dining area, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, sleeping loft, and wood-burning stove, all clean and fully equipped with kitchen supplies, towels, and bedding for $55-$60 a night. On top of that, the full kitchen meant we didn’t have to pay for meals out as we would in a hotel. Score! We stayed for three nights, hiking in several state parks and along two sections of the Appalachian Trail. We spent our days walking along lakes and streams, climbing mountains, visiting old homesteads, reading by the fire, playing games, roasting s’mores every night, and exploring mountain back roads.