I had a few hours and headed out in an attempt to climb the Pinnacles of Dan, which is a hill/rock formation/mount rising up from the valley of the mighty Dan river. The drive up the valley is pretty cool, with tall, lush hillsides rising up on both sides and the Dan rushing like a torrent from the Blue Ridge above.
directions said something like "Drive to the end of the road. Go into the hydroelectric plan. Go to the second floor. The guy there will talk to you for a long time and then give you a permit. Then proceed along the trail for half a mile and cut up into the woods. Climb the very steep slope until you get to the top."
I was looking forward to a conversation with the hydroelectric plant attendant, but a sign on the power station read "Due to Covid-19, by crossing the bridge behind this building, you acknowledge having read this sign and are granted permit to hike."
After half a mile, I randomly cut up into the woods, which involved crossing a horrible 20-yard patch of multiflora rose, which took 10 minutes and a good amount of blood. After this, I was in the nice, open, but very steep woods. No real trail to follow, and a lot of climbing on all fours, grabbing on to trees and rocks, and hoping to not grab a millipede by accident.
Eventually I got to the summit ridge, which had steep drop-offs in two directions, and cool intermittent views to the Blue Ridge Parkway in one direction and the hills of the Primland resort in the other.
Several large rocky outcrops remained between me and the summit. I got over the first couple, but then came to one that was too exposed and slippery (it had rained nonstop all week) and I decided to turn back. The downclimb was fairly uneventful, though I did slide on my butt a few times, catching myself on tree branches.
It was nice to get out and challenge myself, though I probably would not recommend this hike/climb to a lot of people. However, the river valley is gorgeous, and it was great to come back and walk along the river with Alli and Inara two days later.