The finest free magazine you will ever find is Blue Ridge Outdoors. Seriously, I’m not just saying that because of a bet made while bowling with the publisher. The magazine thoroughly covers outdoor and related topics in Virginia, West Virginia, the Carolinas, Tennessee and even North Georgia. It does so every month with great wit and from a variety of perspectives.
Yesterday I sat down with the January issue, which includes “The Ultimate 100 Must Do Mountain Adventures for 2014.” Some of the items I have already done. Seeing them on the list brought back memories (#2 Summit Mount Rogers in Virginia; #11 Tear up Cupp Run at Snowshoe, WV). Some sound amazing and have inspired me (#32 Zip down the longest Zipline on the east coast at Adventures on the Gorge, WV; #18 Eat your weight in pizza [truth is, I’ve probably already done that]). Still other items on the list are best left undone (#14 Hike naked on the summer solstice).
I was very happy to see some of our clients’ many outdoor adventures included. #7 Ride or run all 34 miles of the Virginia Creeper Trail, whose western terminus is in downtown Abingdon, VA. #90 Go big on your bike, specifically mentions the awesome trail network at Douthat State Park, which straddles the border of the Alleghany Highlands and Bath County. #69 Night hike to McAfee Knob, #75 Bike the Gamut at Carvin’s Cove and #97 Take a lunch time break on a close in trail in Roanoke are all located within the region around the Roanoke Valley known as Virginia’s Blue Ridge. I hope you will all put these things on your 2014 to-do list.
There are a few other things that I wish were included. For example, go tubing or paddling on the Upper James River Water Trail. Plan your trip with the guys at Twin River Outfitters and you’ll be assured of a great time. Take a guided fly-fishing trip on the Jackson River in the Alleghany Highlands. Grab your camera and go on a photo safari in Bath County, where you’ll find gorgeous landscapes, wildlife and quaint towns. Finally, and this may be a bit of a stretch because it’s really not in the mountains, go camping and exploring at Kerr Lake in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. This man-made lake is largely undeveloped which means you can spend days exploring quiet coves and enjoy a genuine wilderness experience with deer, bear and bald eagles.
One emotion that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, and this Ultimate 100 list in particular, stirs up is gratitude that I get to live so close to these amazing places.