Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Brew-Hiking the Shenandoah Valley - Two days in Roanoke (part 2 - doing it!)

This morning as I plan my second two-day trip to Roanoke, I came to realize I hadn't posted anything following last week's trip when The Oelander and I hiked Mill Mountain's Star Trail for the twilight views of twinkling city lights and sunset-framed mountains dotting the skyline.

We loved both hikes - more to come on these later - but Parkway Brewing's Majestic Mullet Krispy Kolsch was the star of the weekend. We took an insulated growler along  and toasted the hiking life as we arrived at the summit, standing in the glow of the famed neon star until sun's light finally faded and a twinkling celestial canopy came into view high above the expansive Roanoke valley.

Today I'll be taking the two-hour drive south from Harrisonburg once again to explore more trails. I'm not sure which I'll end up taking, but I'm looking into doing a sunset hike this evening to Read Mountain's summit at Buzzard Rocks and a day hike tomorrow at Peaks of Otter.

I'll be hiking alone this weekend but I do plan on stopping in at Soaring Ridge Craft Brewery for a post-hike beer at some point. These trips are part of ongoing research, of course, so I may have a second beer (or third). In any case, it's my mid-week "weekend", so I'm going to make the most of it as always!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Brew-Hiking the Shenandoah Valley - Two days in Roanoke (part 1 - planning)

Hey reader, 

Later today I'll be doing an urban sunset hike to watch the lights come up over Roanoke (hoping my friend Laura and her daughter come along to join in the fun); then tomorrow I'll be doing one of the most iconic hikes on the Appalachian Trail. Oh, and of course there will be a brewery visit in between!

A buddy of mine, trail name The Oelander, will be along for the ride. Being a college student can be hard - or at least that's what we all think at the time, right? - so he's getting a get-out-of-jail card for the next two days while I'm off on my regularly scheduled midweek "weekend". Luckily I'm off work for the next 48 hours, and I plan to squeeze the marrow out of every moment.

This afternoon we'll be heading down the highway to a place known as the Star City of the South, Roanoke, Virginia. After dropping the dogs off at the motel, we'll head out to fill a growler at a local brewery - probably Parkway Brewing Company or Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers. We plan to enjoy a toast as the lights come up in the valley and the big neon Roanoke Star flickers on at the top of Mill Mountain. 

To brew-hiking! 

Also, we'll swing by Blue Ridge Hydroponics and Home Brewing to pick up some ingredients for our next batch (still waiting on the Belgian Tripel to fully ferment; could a coffee porter be in our future?).

Post-hike we'll be heading to a local establishment famous for its great food and hearty brews - there are several places we're considering actually, so I look forward to reporting back on where we ultimately decide to tuck in and splash back an ale or two.

In the morning, we'll wake when we're able and head out to the trailhead en route to McAfee's Knob. This iconic knob is located about 3.5 miles in, and its views are pretty damn spectacular from what it looks like on the multitude of shots I see daily on Instagram. It's one of those bucket-list hikes, surely among the top of the top photographed spots along the A.T.

Well, it's time to pack up and head out fairly soon, so I'll log off and leave part 2 until I get to it later this week. Thanks for reading. Ciao for now.