Wilburn Ridge Day Hike

July 26, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

I was trying to beat the heat the other day and so I headed up to Wilburn Ridge in Mount Rogers Recreation Area.  The best access for me to get here is in Grayson Highlands State Park's Massie Gap parking area.   I can say that one thing I was not able to accomplish was 'beating the heat' boy even up on Wilburn Ridge I was dripping in sweat from the hike.

IMG_8894-Edit-3-Edit-2Foggy Sunset Wilburn RidgeFoggy Sunset Wilburn Ridge

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2014 Grayson Highlands State Park

2013 Grayson Highlands State Park

Virginia State Park Gallery

From any photo in the gallery you can view more information(exif data), or purchase prints(which helps feed my yorkie)

During most of the hike, the sky and clouds were really making for some nice light on the foreground and overall scenes.  Starting up the Rhododendron Trail(which unfortunately saw the last of the Rhododendron Blooms in June) you quickly meet up with the Appalachian Trail and the Wilburn Ridge Trail.  

There were lots of small ferns coating large areas of the ground with the iconic Hemlocks shooting up at the sky.  While shooting I thought I had this whole scene focused right from front to back, but once I got it on the computer I noticed the hemlocks in the background were just a bit soft.  Considering the ferns close up were only a few feet away, and the hemlocks being like 25-40 feet away, I'll take it.

ferns and hemlocks on the Appalachian trailferns and hemlocks on the appalachian trail

Looking back on the same general area, you can see the great big clouds coming in over the hemlocks on the Appalachian Trail.

IMG_8659ferns and hemlocks on the appalachian trailferns and hemlocks on the appalachian trail

A little further up the trail on the first of the three Wilburn Ridge Peaks, I took a second and shot some really nice ferns and blooms overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains.  From here(and many other places in the area) you can see into North Carolina and sometimes even into Tennessee.

Blooms on wilburn ridge Blooms on wilburn ridge

Heading up to the second peak, the rock formations and light from the low clouds really made for a nice scene.

Wilburn Ridge VAWilburn Ridge VA

IMG_8802-EditTop of Wilburn RidgeWilburn Ridge VA

Hikers must leave crumbs a lot up here(It is a good place for a snack).  Birds were flying around quit a bit.  I think this is a cedar waxwing. Cedar Waxwing on Wilburn RidgeCedar Waxwing on Wilburn RidgeCedar Waxwing on Wilburn Ridge

Here is a telephoto view from Wilburn Ridge, I believe that the peak covered in clouds is Mount Rogers, Virginia's highest point.  But I can't really tell.

Wilburn Ridge and the Blue Ridge MoutainsWilburn Ridge and the Blue Ridge Moutains

Staying telephoto here... the clouds really made for some nice soft light.

Foggy Sunset on Wiburn RidgeFoggy Sunset on Wiburn RidgeFoggy Sunset on Wiburn Ridge

Switching back to wide angle here, you can really see what low clouds/fog add to a scene.  The brightness here was a bit more than my camera could contain so I blended two exposures using luminosity masks in Photoshop CC(something I hadn't done before).  Not a bad first attempt. :)

Foggy Sunset on Wiburn RidgeFoggy Sunset on Wiburn RidgeFoggy Sunset on Wiburn Ridge

On the way back, big clouds and oncoming twilight made for a nice finish.

IMG_8926Foggy Sunset on Wiburn RidgeFoggy Sunset on Wiburn Ridge

IMG_8931Foggy Sunset on Wiburn RidgeFoggy Sunset on Wiburn Ridge

And then, when I got back to the meadow near Massie Gap, I looked up while walking to admire the stars that were out.  When I looked back down I realized I had company...  The flash on my phone irked him a little but he really didn't mind me.

velvet antlers in massie gapvelvet antlers in massie gap

Thanks for looking. 


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