12:04:00 PM

Oh it feels so good to be back. Back to the mountains, back to the AT, back to the sunrise and sunset hikes, and back to that unforgettably clear head that comes after continuous breaths of fresh air.

It's been two weeks since I've moved back to Virginia and I have already done three different hikes. If you know me, you know how happy that makes me.

Sunrise at McAfee's Knob, sunset at Bald Knob, and Sunday at the Cascades. I am so content.

McAfee's knob is always a breathtaking view, especially if you wake up early enough to catch the sunrise. We took the fire route this time since we were ascending at 4:00am. The fire route is wide enough to walk alongside your fellow hikers and rugged enough that you feel like you aren't completely cheating the system. I recommend hiking that extra 100 yards at the end of the trail, past the primary overlook, as there are a few hanging rocks that are more secluded and offer just as good of a view. Compared to last year's sunrise hike at McAfee's, this year's far surpassed it. I couldn't take my eyes away from the fog and clouds that rolled over and consumed the mountains and filled the valleys and I've never seen a sun quite so gold in my life. 

Bald Knob has simply turned in to one of my favorite hikes. Only a half mile (although it is a half mile of straight vertical), it offers one of the best sunset views in southwest Virginia. I love seeing the distant infrastructures scattered at the base of the extraordinary mountains. 

And, finally, the Cascades. Waterfalls are just mesmerizing, and so this quick trip never disappoints. This past trip was my 11th trip to the Cascades and also filled in the box for an Autumn trip.  So even after I've walked it 11 times and through every season, I can still say it is beautiful and it is wild. What's not to love about walking on a fallen log to get to the perfect rock to sit on to watch a glorious waterfall? It's perfect and it's so southwest Virginia. 

It's good to be back. 

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