Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Buffalo Mountain Nature Preserve

 On the recommendation of some dear friends, we decided to go hike the Buffalo Mountain Natural Area Preserve. It is located in Floyd County VA. It is described as one of the most significant natural areas of VA. The elevation at the top is 3971 and has a gorgeous view of the area.

 Now, finding the place took considerably longer and was probably more difficult than the actual hike. I will go ahead and take full responsibility for the mishaps that followed regarding our trip up there.We tried to use Google Maps directions and ended up on the wrong side of the mountain winding back and forth through some very remote hollows. I would suggest studying the map a bit better than us if you want to do this hike. We kept good attitudes as best we could even though the kids were aware that we were lost and a bit anxious. Did I mention that we were running on gas fumes too? :) And the end of the story is we made it. A nice local was very kind when we knocked on his front door and he directed us out to the town of Willis, which has a gas station and got us to the right side of the mountain. And actually, the weather was low dense clouds until we finally made it to the trail start and then the sky cleared nicely making it perfect weather for out hike. It was a moderate 1 mile hike to the summit. 
It may have taken us forever to find Buffalo Mountain, but there were some pretty views along the way. We finally did make it to the nature preserve, though we were about 2 hours later than we had planned..

While not as groomed as Elk Knob, the trail was easy follow and not too hard for anyone. There were cool rocks and tree to see all along the way.

One of the best things about these hikes is the abundance of wildflowers. We really enjoy spotting as many colors and variety of wildflowers as we can.

 The kids thought this mostly-fallen sapling that was overhanging the trail was a great place to play. 

 We stopped a few times to look at some interesting bugs that boys spotted. They especially thought the centipedes and millipedes were cool.

 After 2 hours, we finally reached the top.
Emma pointing out the various landmarks from the top. The view from there provided a gorgeous 360-degree view of the Virginia and North Carolina mountains. It was especially cool to watch the shadows of the clouds passing over the hills and fields below. There were lots of rock formations to climb and explore.

Olivia thought the rocks were perfect for climbing.

That hazy gray mountain in the middle is Pilot Mountain, NC, about 30 miles away, as the crow flies.

 Ezra found the brass marker for the summit.

There was a pretty meadow at the top, too.

 The rock strata on the summit were very cool. 
They were twisted  all over the place and had all kinds of plants growing in the crevices between them. 
The ride home was uneventful, though since we had gotten lost on the ride up, we weren't sure how to get home. In the interest of safety, we wound up taking the long way around via 221 to Hillsville and so added another hour onto our trip. In the end it all worked out and a wonderful memory was made for us all. :)

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