Friday, October 18, 2013

Grayson Highlands Fall Festival

Several years ago we came out and hiked at the Grayson Highlands.  It is a beautiful place to hike and connects up with Appalachian Trail. Besides being a fabulous place to hike it is known for its wild ponies, which graze all over the highlands.

This was our first year attending the Fall festival.  It was small, but nice. We purchased several handmade items from the local vendors. The kids both got these awesome natural hiking sticks.  They had been cut and sanded at each end, and had a cord though the top. 

We also purchased some eat hand carved mushrooms and a vase from a couple of the vendors. The festival was small but it had a handful of vendors, live music and food booths. We wandered around a bit and then headed up the trails to hike.

The trails are at a higher elevation and there is a noticeable temperature drop as soon as you begin hiking up to the highlands. So even though it was a warm day, we all brought sweat shirts.  We started of on the Grayson highlands main trail and then switched over to the Appalachian trail which crossed through the Grayson Highlands. We followed it for a bit, and then connected back to our original trail. 

The landscapes and scenery at this altitude is breath taking!  It is a beautiful hike. We passed many folks hiking, riding horseback and others who had set up their camps. There were bear warnings posted, and we hiked for several miles without seeing any of the ponies we were hoping to see.

We were quite surprised to see a few cows grazing along the trail.  

More views of the blue ridge.  It really is a fabulous hike. It's only a couple hours drive, we really should be hiking here more often.  After hiking pretty far up the trail we were feeling a bit disappointed that we hadn't seen any ponies.  We began to head back, and although we thought we were retracing our original path, we somehow ended up on a different trail.

We came around a corner and found the ponies!!  The ponies are considered wild, but they are very use to all the hikers.  Folks tend to feed them and so the ponies are actually very tame.

As soon as they saw us they began to come over too see if we'd brought them any treats.

This pony has the most magnificent hairstyle i've ever seen. :)   He was absolutely gorgeous and very sweet!  The ponies even followed us for a while until some other folks stopped and pulled out carrots.

We really had a wonderful time hiking and seeing the beautiful ponies. i actually wish that we'd come earlier and had more time to hike. There are many other trails that are worth hiking, but we didn't have enough time to explore them.  We look forward to coming back again and may make the Fall festival and annual activity.

You can find out more about the Grayson Highlands here.


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