Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rice Fields on the Appalachian Trail

A few weeks ago Asta and I trekked up the Appalachian Trail on Peters Mountain to the Rice Fields, on the Virginia-West Virginia border. The day began with a beautiful drive out 460 West from Blacksburg to Pearisburg, with Peters Mountain looming above as you approach Pearisburg. A short jaunt off 460 on Hwy 641 brings you to the AT crossing. The trail starts with a hike up a (then) drought-dry creekbed, then climbs to the top of a spur (the crest of the spur is pictured to the right). A few weeks earlier and we would have found the hillside covered with blueberries, but only a few stragglers remained, which were quickly consumed. Nothing like wild blueberries - call them huckleberries if you want.

After cresting the spur we crossed a saddle, then began a long series of switchbacks up to the top of Peters Mountain. Peters is one of those long ridge-and-valley mountains described in an earlier post, and runs for at least 15 miles along the Va-WVa border. After about 2 miles of switchbacks you reach the top of Peters Mountain, where it's typically very flat, sometimes several hundred yards wide, other times a few dozen yards across. It was wonderfully cool and breezy on the top, and we had a pleasant stroll on the ridgetop for about 2 miles to the Rice Fields.

Asta running atop flat, fern-covered Peters Mountain
Checking out a turtle.
The AT heading north across the Rice Fields.
Looking northwest into West Virginia from the Rice Fields.
Southwest view of WV from the Rice Fields as Asta frolics.


FairiesNest said...

Any idea why it's called Rice Fields? It looks lovely...sigh...

Bantering Bibliocrat said...

No rice around that I saw...and I haven't found anything listing why it's called the Rice Fields. wonderful place, though. as you can see, Asta really enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

As for the name "Rice Fields", I'd guess the area is named after a person whose surname is Rice. Just a guess, though.