Shortly after Andy and I hiked The Priest and were rewarded with the most breathtaking color-change in the sky, I was ready to chase another sunset and sunrise hike. This had us lugging our packs to Bluemont, Virginia for two-day hike and camp in Bears Den Park which started with the Bears Den hike. There, we planned to catch a sunset before hiking in the moonlight to Raven Rocks where we would watch a sunrise the following morning.
This day started off beautiful — It was warm but there was a dampness in the air that cooled us while also hinting at the possibility of rain any moment. Starting with Bears Den we were ready for the huge gains that came with the tiniest of hikes:
- It was an almost two miles
- 310-foot elevation gain
- Level One of Five difficulty
Beginning on the AT, we were within yards were at the blue-blazed Bears Den Trail Center connector . . .
and then — within feet of stepping onto this trail — we had arrived at the Bears Den vista.
The view was beautiful and because of that, very popular. The good news is there is a small hidden trail between the rocks that leads to another look-out directly beside the main one. Here, Andy and I squeaked through and were the only ones while others waited for groups of people to clear.
Also noteworthy about this trail were the rocks . . . which, I know, sounds strange and silly but they were granite boulders with clearly visible quartz.And and I sat upon these boulders and waited for the sun to drop. Nature had other plans though . . .
Suddenly, a massive storm rolled through — massive meaning tornado watch right where we were — so we ended up hoisting our packs onto our backs again and headed out. I know I was being mizzy at the time, but the stormclouds prevented us from catching a sunset; and because I was hellbent and determined to take on Bears Den and Raven Rocks in one hike, I refused to wait around for a sunrise. I wanted the perfect hike and I was more than content waiting another day for it.
Needless to say, we left — which Andrew was happy about because it was airing on the side of caution; and in the end, I learned (though I did not want to admit it at the time) that even if plans do not go exactly as detailed, they can be just as special. We were, after all, hiking together in a beautiful mountain spot, and got to see another wonderful vista.