Last week, *A* and I celebrated our anniversary with a day trip to nearby Grayson Highlands State Park, not far from Mount Rogers in Southwest Virginia. We’d never been there before, but you can bet that we’ll go back, hopefully soon. It was only a little over an hour away and it is a fantastic place to hike, backpack, camp, all that stuff we love to do together, and which we’ll do lots of with our kids. We have our favorite places already, and Grayson Highlands has secured a spot among them – not only is the environment different from much of the Blue Ridge (it looks like photos I’ve seen of the Highland region of Scotland), there are also wild ponies in the park. Well, I suppose “wild” is a tiny overstatement – they are actually quite tame, as you will see below. They are managed by a local organization, the Wilburn Ridge Pony Association, but from what we observed, they seem to be free to graze at will pretty much anywhere in the park. Enough babbling – check out our photos:
Our first encounter with the wild ponies was about a half mile into the Appalachian Trail, headed south. Here is what we thought was a mama and foal – we figured the foal was born this past spring and since they look an awful lot alike, we figured they were related. What you can’t see from this view is how wide the big pony is – she’s probably due next spring.
This one turned out to be the foal’s mama – the foal was still nursing. You can see the resemblance in the face.
After hiking, we decided to check out the picnic area, where there was a little village of cabins (well, one that was lived in, the other were outbuildings with various specific uses). I just can’t seem to stop taking pictures of my two happy adventurers 🙂
We ate a picnic lunch at an overlook near the Visitor’s Center. What a gorgeous view!
After a great couple of hikes, we headed to Abingdon, Virginia for supper at a fun little diner we discovered last year, Pop Ellis Soda Shoppe and Grill (fantastic banana splits) and a little bakery called Anthony’s Desserts for something to take home. We had a great day celebrating our 11th (day we started dating) and 8th (day our knot was tied) anniversaries.
Everywhere we go, we make mental notes about things to do with kids. Grayson Highlands State Park is high on the list now – we really look forward to sharing these special places with our kids someday soon!