Oh my goodness, what a weekend!!! Jimmy and I headed out to western Virginia for a little camping, we planned to stay at the Peaks of Otter a few nights and visit his family, maybe go take a dip in Panther Falls.
We got there late Friday night and set up camp. The campsite at the peaks is great. Each campsite has a smooth, graveled area bordered by rails for your tent, a picnic table, a cooking fire setup and posts for hanging lights. It’s $16 per night. There are also bathrooms not too far from the campsites.
Saturday morning we got up bright and early and headed over to the trails, where we planned to climb to the top of Sharp Top. The Sharp Top trail is marked as “strenuous” on the map, and they were NOT kidding. It’s 1.5 miles to the summit, which is 3,865 feet above sea level. It took us about an hour and 15 minutes to get all the way up.
The trip up was awesome! About halfway up, we rounded a huge boulder and Jimmy whispered, “STOP!” I froze, since more than one person had told us about how many bear are on the peaks. He pointed and I saw a deer about thirty feet in front of us. I started sneaking closer, hoping for a good picture. The deer just stared at me.
I got a little closer and then he just hopped right up the side of the hill, looked around and started walking right toward me. They are way bigger in person than I thought!
The deer came within about six feet of me before other people started coming from both directions on the trail. He wasn’t scared at all, I think they’re used to people feeding them (although he looked really hungry). He basically posed for pictures for every single person that came up the trail, and wasn’t going anywhere. We eventually moved on, still in awe that we got that close! I believe he’d have eaten right out of my hand if I’d attempted to feed him.
About 11:30 or so, we finally reached the top. I feel like I’m in pretty good shape and let me tell you that trail kicked my butt! I was exhausted and completely drenched in sweat, not to mention a little grimy from camping, no shower and still in the same clothes from the day before which I’d also slept in. Definitely not at my best, ha!
The view from the top was gorgeous. All around the summit were little medallions pointing out landmarks in the distance and how far they were from where you stood. It was amazing how small the lake and lodge looked from up there (that’s near where we started). Flat top, the highest of the three peaks, is on the other side of the lake.
It was a little hazy so we couldn’t see the town of Bedford (8 miles away), but we could see the various other landmarks pointed out, like Wheats Valley, and the third peak, Hearkening Hill.
We hung out for a while, it was pretty crowded up there with families who had rode the bus up (you can take a bus to just below the summit and hike the last 1500 feet to the top if you don’t want to climb the whole trail) and a huge troop of Boy Scouts who were being daring and getting stuck in rocks and all sorts of hilarious, boyish things.
It was getting pretty hot and we both were starving, but every time I suggested heading back down the trail, Jimmy wanted to stay a little while longer. I shrugged and said okay, I was having fun anyway.
We jumped up on top of the rock wall and climbed on to the highest rock, which isn’t connected to the platform. It was a little scary and Jimmy’s a little height-nervous so I was surprised he wanted to come up there with me at all. We looked out over a gorgeous mountain vista as peregrine falcons flew by, casting shadows on the trees below. It was truly breathtaking.
Next thing I knew I had a gorgeous ring on my finger and had told the man I love YES, that I’d love to spend the rest of my life with him. This is the sweetest surprise I’ve ever been given.
The fact that it was a surprise is perhaps the most shocking of all. Jimmy is terrible at keeping a secret. He always tells me my Christmas presents and finds out surprises before they happen. When he told me he’d had the ring almost a month, I about fell off the rock. He’d talked to my parents more than two weeks ago. All our mutual friends knew! I was the last to know, ha!
We stopped in the little cabin and I used a piece of charcoal from the fireplace to make our little mark.
The ring is gorgeous. He has such good taste. It’s a tension setting in white gold. I adore the details.
It catches the light beautifully. I’m so thankful for such a perfect weekend and beyond excited about this next stage of our life together. I love you Jimmy!