Written by IGC fellow Alaina Weinheimer

To kick off the school year with the IGC’s first social event, many of us fellows wanted to gather offline in a safe way, so we organized a hike followed by a visit to Moon Hollow Brewing Company for this past Saturday, 10/17. For the hike, fellows Ernie Osburn, Lauren Maynard, and I took to the trails in Catawba. Initially planning to hike McAfee’s Knob, we had to improvise when we saw cars parked up to over a mile from the trailhead. Apparently, everyone had the same idea as us. Luckily, Dragon’s Tooth trail wasn’t too far away, and we met up there.

Although the morning temperature was a brisk 36°F, the sun was strong, and we warmed up quickly as we ascended to the top. Along with us was my parents’ dog, Roscoe. I knew he could manage hiking McAfee’s Knob, since it’s a gradual incline if you’re using the fire road, but Dragon’s Tooth proved quite daunting for the ~20-pound cock-a-poo mix. We all helped lift him over flat-faced rocks, and his tail continued to wag despite some scary moments. The trail at Dragon’s Tooth was quite crowded, but enjoyable, nonetheless. The colorful foliage was stunning, and the warmth of the sun felt sublime.

To rehydrate after the hike, we went to Moon Hollow Brewing Company in Blacksburg and met up with fellows Stephen Plont and Dave Millican. The sun continued to shine as we sat in a circle, socially distanced, and caught up on each other’s lives.

All in all, it was a terrific Saturday. We were very grateful for the good weather and beautiful leaves. To our fellow Fellows, and GCC faculty – here’s to hoping you are staying safe, practicing self care & keeping in touch!