Hi Stan,

How are you doing? I have been following your adventures on the Appalachian Trail. You are lucky to have been adopted by such nice people. It must be fun riding around in ďBabyĒ the RV.

You are not the only one who has gone hiking on the Appalachian Trail. Let me tell you about my adventures on a hike in Virginia. It is near Mount Rogers, the highest mountain in the state.





We started in a place called Massie Gap. We had to hike about half a mile to reach the Appalachian Trail. There are many trails. Some are just for people on foot, some are for people riding mountain bicycles and some are for people riding horses. In the picture you can see somebody starting out on a horse back ride.







Once we got to the top of the hill you see in the picture, the views were wonderful. We found the Appalachian Trail which goes up a mountain called Wilborn Ridge. Here you can see what that was like. You would cross a nice grassy area then climb up some rocks, then do it all over again.











At one point there is tunnel in the rock called Fat Manís Squeeze. It would be hard for somebody who was big and fat to get through, but for kids like us, it was really easy.










We were taking a break when I heard noises behind me. I had heard there are bears on the Appalachian Trail. I certainly didnít want to get eaten by a bear. The people I was with told me that the bears really arenít dangerous, but I was still kind of scared. Then I saw what caused the noise. Three ponies walked out from behind one of the rocks. These were some of the famous ponies of Mt. Rogers.




They let herds of these ponies run wild in the meadows. They are quite used to people. There are signs telling people not to feed them. But ponies canít read and some of them come up looking for goodies. This one looked at me expecting to get something and when I didnít give him anything, he just walked away and started eating grass.








Here is a picture of two more of the ponies that we saw.











We hiked to a place called Rhododendron Gap. All around there are rhododendron bushes. They were just starting to bloom. They were beautiful.













Later on we saw a whole herd of the ponies.










On our way back we took a shortcut using another trail. The mountain that you see was the one that we had walked along at the beginning of the trip. Do you see the dark green trees in the picture? That is a grove of Fraser firs, which are used for Christmas Trees. This is a seed orchard. The pinecones from the trees are collected and the seeds given to farmers to plant so that they can grow Christmas trees.




I hope that you can visit Mt. Rogers and see the ponies for yourself someday.


Your Friend,

Ivan the Invisible