Had to work late Friday but was able to get a great trip in to Rock Castle Gorge, off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Rocky Knob in Virginia, this past weekend. It's only about an hour and a half away. My friend TJ and his son were able to come with me as well.
I had last hiked this trail in 2007, and had forgotten how steep it can be. It was a fairly strenuous hike, first day down into the gorge, and the next day back up. It is a beautiful loop trail with the backcountry campsite situated at the bottom (next to a stream) about halfway through the loop. The campsite had in the past been the site of a CCC camp from when they were building the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are still some remnants of houses back in the woods, as up to 30 families used to live in the area before the Parkway came. In total it's a little over 10 miles I think.
We had a great time, had the big fire Saturday night, and another wonderful hike back out. It seemed everywhere there were streams flowing, and we had perfect weather except for a few sprinkles as we got started on the way out.
I had a little mishap with some missed footing in the stream at the campsite and ended up getting all of my clothes wet, but most of them dried out enough to wear around. Ooops. Next time I will bring a bit extra just in case.
In any event, a very successful trip. I still have the sore muscles to prove it.