Hiking in Willis Virginia

The original plan for this weekend was to do some trail running, but after some consideration of both of our virgin status as trail running we decided a nice slow hike would be much better suited (and it suited the terrain better as well). I brought my Garmin and HRM strap to track our distance, my calorie burn and also to track our path.  I wasn’t logging my food or anything this weekend, but was just curious.

The view out of the front of the cabin.  Sadly pictures can never do it justice.

We headed out the back of the cabin and immediately began climbing up.  We followed an old logging road until we got to gate into the pastures.  We had been up here before to go shooting once before.  At one point I realized there were cows in the pasture, and we were inside the fence, but they left us alone and we just went along out merry way.

Gray and I at the top of the first hill.

Our new friends the cows.. thankfully they left us alone.  And we gladly left them alone.

We headed up a little further up the hill and found an old barn which we were looking at and managed to see two wild turkeys before Gray’s dog Matty took chase and they buggered out as quick as they could.  I managed to catch a picture of one before they flew off.

Wild turkeys about to fly off.

At this point we decided to take a break and eat lunch.  We had grabbed some deli sandwiches at the grocery store and carried them up with us.  Mine was an Italian sub with salami, ham and pepperoni and provolone cheese, it was very good.

After lunch, we got back onto the logging road and followed it across the ridge to another pasture and then we came out upon a old family cemetery that Gray said he hadn’t been to in a long time.  The oldest stones dated back to the 1890’s, the most recent one was from 1961.  After that we cut across a different pasture and then came to a ridge top at the edge of some woods.

View of Buffalo Mountain from the ridge.  Absolutely stunning up there.

At this point we started heading down the hill through the woods and winding out way down to the bottom of the valley to follow the creek back to the cabin.

If a tree pose falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it does it still Om?

The story with the gratuitous yoga shot, is my friends in Alabama always post pictures of themselves doing random yoga poses either mid- or after morning training runs.  So I had to have one of myself.  Tree pose seemed quite appropriate.

After this we followed the creek back up to the cabin for some post hike refreshment.

When I got home I was very excited to plug my Garmin in and see what the stats from the hike were.  We went very slowly and we were not trying to break any land speed records, but we hiked 3.31 miles in 2 hours and 52 minutes.  According to my heart rate strap, my max heart rate was 157 BPM, and it was in the last lap (which was a steep hill climb back up to the cabin) and my average heart rate was 107.  I burned 695 calories over the course of our hike, which actually compares to a spinning class or a weekend long run.  So even though it was long and slow it had the same effect.  Garmin also gave me an option to place my path onto Google Earth and this is where things get interesting.  Garmin tracks changes in elevation, and Google Earth gives me the true elevation, so I can compare the two.  The elevation at the cabin is about 2700 feet.  Our highest elevation was up on the ridge top where we at lunch at about 2900 feet.  Our lowest elevation was down at the creek in the bottom of the valley, at 2599 feet.  So a total elevation change of about 300 feet.  200 above the cabin and about 100 below.  Get this though, from the Garmin our total ascent was 4,449 feet and our total descent was 2,430 feet.  That’s a lot of up and down to cover 300 feet, and most of it was up! Totally crazy.

Here is the path of our hike from Google Earth.  The cabin is about in the “7 oclock” position in the mid-lower left.  The very bottom is the ridge we at lunch at and the rest of the path we followed up and around counter-clockwise back to the cabin.



  1. Glad to see you were inspired by my great hike last week 😉

  2. Ahh, this sounds wonderful! I’m so glad you had such a good time, hiking is the best!

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  • About Me

    I am a recent graduate in Food Science (NC State, 2009) and I work for a major food manufacturing company. I love food, but I can no longer eat anything that crosses my path. About 24 months ago I begin a serious struggle to get my obesity under control and reduce my chances of developing Type II diabetes. Since September of '09 I have lost 50 pounds and I still have a long ways to go. I've started eating better and exercising more, including taking up running.