Hiking the South Trail | The Omni Homestead Resort – Hot Springs, VA
I am spending a few days at The Omni Homestead Resort for a work conference. It is the last year at this location, so I am trying to enjoy it as much as I can. Last year, there was an ice storm (that knocked out power and water!). The weather was not cooperating, and I pretty much stayed inside the entire time.
This year, the weather is GORGEOUS! It is in the 40s/50s during the day, with a brisk mountain breeze. This morning’s 39* was PERFECT running and hiking weather, so I headed outside to check out some of the trails. I really wanted to visit the Gorge Trail, complete with multiple waterfalls, but it is only available if you take the guided tour. As I am broke, I decided to check out the South Trail, a 4.2 mile path through the woods, to The Homestead Equestrian Center, and then past the Owners Club homes.
Hiking the South Trail
The trail begins down the road from The Homestead and then heads into the woods. There were some steep inclines, but nothing too terrible.
About a half a mile on the trail, I spotted a deer ahead of me. This young male buck was walking the path and minding his own business. As I got closer, though, I noticed something strange. It really looks like an arrow was sticking out of his back!!! It looks like he must have been hit by an arrow. This was such a sad moment for me. Having to see this deer live his life with an arrow sticking out of his back is just terrible.
When I was back at The Homestead, I inquired if deer hunting was allowed and was told that these are protected lands. The deer must have wandered here from another place, looking for solace away from hunters.
The deer ran eventually ran away, and I continued on my run/hike.
The path through the woods was serene and beautiful. With only the sound of my feet crunching the leaves, and a few squirrels running up and down the trees, I was truly in my element while I ran and hiked.
Reaching the Equestrian Center, I was excited to see some horses out eating some hay. One horse came up to me to say hello and to see if I had any food for him. I did not, but he was friendly and graciously took some pictures with me.
Continuing on the wooded and leafy trail, I enjoyed all the trees and fresh air. A few chipmunks (Hi, Chip and Dale!) and some squirrels were out playing, but I did not see my poor deer friend again.
Soon, I was at the top of the trail and had an amazing view of the mountains and some beautiful homes. What a great view these people have every day from their windows! I lost track of the trail signs and just headed down the huge hill of the neighborhood. Running downhill felt amazing, and I was going about an 8:00 minute mile pace. At the bottom, I found the trail again, but decided to just stay on the road and continue running down until I got back to the entrance of The Homestead.
The morning was so refreshing! Perfect weather that was not too cold, with a crisp, mountain air. I did keep warm with my new Turtle Gloves as they blocked out the little chill that started with the day.
My run/hike was 4.15 miles and took me 1:05:46 to complete. I’m hoping to have time to check out the other two trails at The Homestead: The Deerlick Trail and North Trail. And maybe, I’ll eventually get to go on the Gorge Hike!