After a long day of uphill hiking (slightly over 6 miles), the shelter at Thomas Knob was fairly crowded for the night, and we had packed tents anyhow, so we looked for a quiet spot to set up camp. The view from our campsite was just gorgeous.
Once the tents were up, we set to work boiling water to make some Mountain House backpacker meals. I got a great deal at a yard sale on these - $1.50 a piece, and they weren't expired! For freeze dried food, Mountain House really does have good flavor. I didn't know if the boys would like them or not, but it turns out they loved them. They sampled spaghetti and meatballs, beef stroganoff, and Cajun beans and rice. It was cold on top of the mountain, so they had to bundle up to eat dinner. It got down to around 39* that night.
Now, as promised, here is what makes the Grayson Highlands area different from other regions of the Appalachian Trail - wild ponies! We saw them many times during our hike.
Here's a young one that came into a clearing where we were taking a break. These wild ponies are a little too friendly because hikers keep feeding them granola bars. When they hear plastic rustling, they come too close and even act aggressive. Granola bars and other sugary treats are not healthy for horses and ponies anyhow, so if you go to the region please don't feed the wild ponies! Just enjoy them from a safe distance and treat them as part of nature.
Our final stop for lunch on the second day - one of the typical Appalachian Trail shelters. This was about 1.5 miles from our car. I think this is going to be one Father's Day that will be hard to top!