Since Christine did some of the best in different categories, I thought I would do what is typical of most year-end reviews and do a top nine of ’09 list. Here are my favorite hikes of the year:
9. The Priest – We’ve heard amazing things about this hike and we weren’t disappointed. You can truly contemplate and appreciate nature while taking in the scenery at the top.
8. McAfee Knob – This was our first time doing this hike, but I know we’ll want to go back sometime. The summit gives you some amazing panoramic views.
7. Hawksbill Summit Loop – We really enjoyed the ability to see the peregrine falcons and talk to one of the volunteers who has been monitoring their nest.
6. Mill Prong – Rapidan Camp – We had a wonderful time doing this hike. Wading across the stream and getting a private tour of President Hoover’s retreat cabin made this a memorable trip.
5. Mary’s Rock – Starting our trail from the Jewell Hollow Overlook this time led to a wonderful ridge hike that made it much more enjoyable than previous trips.
4. Gorham Mountain – This hike we did in Acadia National Park. It is probably one of our all-time favorites and one we do every time we visit Maine. This time, we had a lot of fog move in right after we reached the summit, but it is one not to be missed.
3. Mount Morgan – Mount Percival Trail – This trail we did on our visit to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The hike included a lot of interesting hiking to include climbing a series of ladders and navigating a cave crawl-through on the way down. Great views. The only letdown was Christine got stung by some weird insect which caused her to not feel great on the way back.
2. Cole (Cold) Mountain – This was a pleasant surprise to us. I had heard good things about the hike, but this blew away my expectations. Great views as you walk along the summit. It really helped that we had a great day for fall foliage.
1. Mount Rogers – While we thought this day was going to be covered in fog, it turned out to be a marvelous hike. This hike is what gives Virginia Highlands its name – gorgeous views all along, varied terrain, and the bonus of wild ponies.