On the 20th of May, FMA students and staff went on a seventeen mile bike ride on the Virginia Creeper Trail, which used to be a railroad track. The train was made as an easier transportation system than walking over the mountains on foot, or by horse or carriage. It brought timber, iron and other goods to towns on the other side of Mt. Rogers. 

When the more modern highway system came into existence, the tracks were taken up and converted into a beautiful gravel trail, which became an ideal bicycling and horse-back riding trail. 

We began our journey at White Top Station, a place I remember stopping at during our March expedition. When we saw it last it was covered in three feet of snow. 

We rode out, with Mr. Mike leading and 13 others following. We passed a campsite where we stayed in March, right next to a towering trestle bridge. The ride was gorgeous and scenic, following a stream the entire way, and I couldn’t help but smile as I passed through a new green world rather than the snow I saw the last time I was on this trail. 

The sky was blue and it was a perfect temperature. We stopped a few times over the first ten miles to let everyone catch up. We arrived at the Creeper Trail Café in Taylor’s Valley for lunch. There we met Mr. Kevin, Ms. Patricia, Ms. Margaret and her youngest son Aidan. We had a wonderful lunch prepared by the FMA kitchen crew, and then Ms. Patricia gave us each five dollars to spend in the café. Most people chose ice cream and a slice of the famous Appalachian Chocolate Cake. 

We departed at around 2:00 p.m., a little sluggish after our big meal, but still ready for fun on our last seven miles. These went by fast and smoothly. The trail wasn’t crowded, although we passed an occasional group of hikers or other bikers. We stopped about twenty minutes outside of Damscus, and skipped rocks on the stream and reflected on our day. 

We arrived at Sundog Outfitters, where we had rented the bikes, at about 3:40 p.m., disappointed that the ride was over. I wanted more, but I was grateful for the experience. The trail is flat or downhill the whole way, and I recommend it to all families. 

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