Birthdays are a good time to treat yourself. So I did with a quick get-away to Douthat State Park last Friday/Saturday.
Originally, Pisgah was to be the destination. However, rustling up an accomplice to ride in Transylvania Co. down in North Carolina did not pan out. So, as not to let a beautiful weekend wither, a quick decision was made to roll out to Douthat for riding and camping.
Friday provided the perfect blend of crisp fall air and high clouds with a low sun breaking through to illuminate the polychromatic landscapes of Virginia’s mountains. Driving west was filled with some of the best interstate views I have seen in a while.
Nearing the WV boarder, I exited the interstate for a close up view of the mountains. A twisting road leading into Douthat greeted me with warm fall shades and I reciprocated with a wide smile. My worries about getting a camp site were fortunately a waste of time. I was able to pick from about 4 or 5 lakeside camp sites.
Finally I was ready for my ride that would circumnavigate the park on ridgeline trails with some excellent climbs and descents. The trees were absolutely stunning with a vibrant variety of colors that were amplified by the cloudy skies and sharp contrast with dark limbs and brown leaves on the ground. Sometimes a ride where you are by yourself delivers you to a deeper Zen and so it was as I enjoyed just rolling through a sublime fall landscape.
As night drew near, I flowed down the trails back to the campsite. A quick trip to Covington let me gather proper fireside fair at a local grocer. Soon I had a nice fire waiting to smoke the brats and beans I looked forward to. After some grub and IPA I settled into a nice slumber in the crisp air under the stars.
Morning on the lake produced a fog that was eerily skipping across the lake just before the sun broke over the eastern ridge of the park’s mountains.
A few more hours of riding and it was time to return for lunch to finish off the brats and pack up my gear. Heading back to Richmond, I realized that this would be a great gift to give myself every year.