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Sharp Top Mountain- (6-21-09) I hereby decree this the best day EVER! It's Father's Day and what better way to spend a day than to drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoy a hike with the family. This will be my wife's first real physical activity since before giving birth to Dante, so I'm sure she was thinking about it. I had hiked this before when she was here doing an interview for her residency, and the views from the top were spectacular. So we set out and were treated to a glorious day. The temperature was perfect and there was a brisk breeze throughout the entire day. It took us an hour to get there, but the drive was lovely. The hike starts of pretty tough once you get past the road for the bus to the top. Very steep. Not a quarter mile into the hike, we saw a black bear cub. He was maybe 15 ft from me. We stopped (looked for the mother but we never saw her) and waited for him to cross the path. Once he did, we were full of adrenaline. A bear! For the next bit, we made loud noises clapping our our and yelling to hopefully frighten the momma bear away. As we were climbing, we ran into some folk saying there was a deer near the top that was so friendly she was licking people. Really? What is this a petting zoo? To be honest the wildlife must be so used to people because the bear cub didn't seem to pay any attention to us. But a deer that lets you put your arms around it? And licks you? This I gotta see!
The weather continued to be great and we were never hot. Once we got to the split (to the left is the summit and to the right is Buzzards Roost) we went left first. It was so much more impressive than I remember. When you climb on those rocks and see the valley sprawled beneath you with all the peaks in the distance, you really do get the sensation that you are on top of the world. Then we made our way toward the summit which was very steep. So much so that they installed railings to help you along. Now, I was carrying Dante in the Bjorn and wearing a backpack so I had about 20-25 lbs of extra weight on me. My wife and I were so tired on this last ascent that we had to stop several times. Once we reached the top though, it was marvelous. Clear skies and visibility for miles. Flat Top (Sharp Top's neighbor) was just across the way and you could see the town of Bedford as well. My wife takes much better photos than I do, and she got some quality shots.
Although we never saw the deer, this was a picture perfect hike. The weather was heaven sent, my family was with me, the trail was a solid workout, and the scenery through the forest was so peaceful. Not to mention the views from the top or the wildlife sightings. My wife even commented that this may as well have been Mother's Day! Dante was a great baby, never becoming fussy and actually laughing almost the whole way down. I enjoyed this day thoroughly and can't wait to do this one again. 5/5
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