This year’s ‘Virginias’ trip included a number of new and exciting adventures. We visited JMD Farm and completed a project trellising tomatoes. We met Jenny’s new cow Delilah and camped in the back fields under a dark sky lit sky. We ate mountain pies for dinner and had fresh eggs for breakfast in the morning before heading off to snorkel the Maury River.
After snorkeling and catching a few fish, we headed into the mountains to go canyoning in Staton’s Creek. Johnny Wise’s Hole was an awesome fifteen foot jump into cold clear mountain water. We camped on the Piney River and ate sausage from Jenny’s farm.
On the third day we headed off to backpack along Crabtree Falls. The waterfall seemed to drop forever down the side of the mountain and we were tired by the time we reached our camp site 1,500 feet above where we started. In the morning we headed off for the summit, ‘The Priest’. The view was spectacular and the challenge of the day included squeezing our bodies through some tiny cracks in the rocks to get ready for caving!
Highland County is beautiful, and night caving is a little scary. Even though we were a little scared, it was so worth it. We made it through some places I never thought my body would fit, but after a few hours we finally made it back out to the entrance and it was totally dark! We hiked backed to the bus and listened to some chill tunes on the way to our camp spot at High Valley Farmstead.
In the morning we headed into another cave called Aqua. As you may have guessed, it was wet. We had to hold our breaths for a second as we swam under a rock into a room inside a mountain with an underground river in it. We followed the river for a while, before making it to the end. The trip was coming to an end, but we had one more day left mountain biking near Charlottesville, Virginia.
Mountain biking was harder than we thought, but it was a great experience. We headed home to Washington D.C. tired, happy, and with a sense that we accomplished something great. We learned a lot about our local lands and resources and shared a great adventure in the process.
We are definitely looking forward to next year’s trip, ‘The Grand Experience’!