Pictured in Mervyn King walking between huge rocks

What do an 81 year old woman and an 85 year old man do on their 59th anniversary?

If they are Mervyn and Virginia King, they may hike ten miles in the mountains to a phenomenal rock formation in southwest Virginia. 

“We were looking for a camping and hiking adventure. Boy did we ever find one,” Virginia King wrote.  After camping one night and hiking at Hungry Mother State Park, the Kings drove on to a campground on the North Fork of the Holston River, near Abingdon.

“We learned about the Great Channels on Onlyinyourstate.com,” Virginia King wrote. “They are highly impressive sandstone formations in the Clinch Mountains dating back 400 million years. As the website states, ‘If you’re in search of a Virginia trail that’s unlike anything else you’ve ever experienced, you’ll be excited to discover the trek through the Channels.’”

Different Internet postings indicated the trail was 6 miles round trip, a gradual incline for about 1,000 feet that is well marked, Virginia King wrote.

“We thought, ‘We can do that,’”  she wrote, adding that “What we didn’t know until after the fact, (was) that there are two trails to the Channels. When we drove to the trailhead marked the Channels Trail, we thought we were on the right track,” she wrote.

“Actually, it was the first trail developed in 2004. It was ten miles long round trip, not well marked with a 2,600 feet climb. A few years ago, a second trail was cut,” Virginia King wrote, adding that is the 6 mile trail the couple thought they were on.

The Kings determined to follow the trail they were on, and “we made it, with some spectacular pictures, sore legs and a tale to tell,” Virginia King wrote. “We are looking for our next adventure, but not one this strenuous,” she added.