The day started out early with eggs and bagels in camp. We headed out on our bikes to find the Stone Mountain climbing area and few directions from the rangers we were ready to start climbing the classic Great Arch route. Since we were traveling by bike all this time we only brought a short 50 foot rope. I think the Great Arch is normally done in 3 or 4 pitches but we ended up having to do 9 pitches, with a little creativity on Bill’s part. I must say the climb was easy and fun and a great way to start the day.
We got down and back to our camp in time to have some lunch and take a siesta before heading out on our bikes. Our goal of Doughton Park Campground was not too far away but we had to do some serious climbing just to get back on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Along the way we met Zak and Betty from Conway, Arkansas who were doing the parkway on their Harley. While talking to them we noticed a butterfly caught under the light of the motorcycle. We set it free and it flew around and landed on Betty’s hand. Since we were headed south, and at that time of the year the butterflies are also, we put it in Bill’s basket thinking it might want a ride for a few miles. As it turns out, it stayed with us all the way to our campground, spent the night in the basket and left the next morning right after breakfast.
Our route for the day: http://www.mapmyride.com/workout/1161779611
The plan was to take day 7 off and hang out with my sister and her family. Bill really wanted to make it to Stone Mountain so we could climb the next day and I wanted a day off. Our solution was that Bill would ride and my sister and family would drive me the distance. This worked out perfect since I was starting to have some achilles tendon pain. I arrived at the Stone Mountain campsite in the late morning and set up our tent. Bill rolled in around 5pm. After a little break we did some scouting for the climbing area, had a good dinner and headed to bed.
Day 7 was the beginning of the change of the adventure. We not only had a short day but we changed our focus. Riding was starting to take a backseat to climbing. We came a good 5 to 10 miles off the Parkway so we could do some climbing. We also were no longer as worried about the destination but more interested in the process.