Grateful Boomers head up to Bear Den Mountain

Published 1:24 am Saturday, February 3, 2024

They indulged! Isn’t that what happens on New Year’s Eve? On New Year’s Eve, the Grateful Boomers set out from Curdsville and first indulged in a brunch at the Batesville Market, just west of Charlottesville. From there, a quick 15 minute drive put them at the trailhead to hike Bear Den Mountain. 

“It was here that we indulged our senses with beautiful views of the Blue Ridge mountains, delightful conversations with friends, and a strenuous workout for our legs,” said member Katherine Brooks. 

At the summit of Bear Den, the group enjoyed belly laughs as they sat on a number of old tractor seats installed on the mountain top. The mountain is privately owned now, with access given for the Appalachian Trail to run across it. Also on top are major communications towers for the Virginia State Police. So this was not your usual hike, strenuous but not too long and all the while, members said, bringing great joy. 

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“Commingling conversation of geology, history and the location of the best fried chicken in Virginia made for a perfect way to end 2023 and begin a new year!” Brooks said. 

A bit about Bear Den Mountain

Bear Den Mountain is located in the Shenandoah National Park. All those natural stone walls along the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway were built by the newly established Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). It was created by FDR early during the Great Depression and was the most popular of the New Deal programs putting nearly 2 million young men to work on a massive building program in America’s parks and forests. 

The Appalachian Trail (AT) was the brainchild of Benton MacKaye, a forester, planner and conservationist, and construction began in the 1920s. When the CCC joined forces with the Appalachian trail conference in 1933, they created the over 2,000 miles of footpaths and green tunnels that snakes from Maine to Georgia for all to enjoy. They also built many of the three-sided wood sleeping huts which  are located about every 8 to 10 miles along the AT. MacKaye hoped to spark a “back to the land” movement to relieve the ills of urban industrial life.

“These times together have solidified friendships, and created gratitude for each other and the greater outdoors,” Brooks said. “It was a great start to 2024!” 

Who are the Grateful Boomers? 

And if you’re wondering who the Grateful Boomers are, they’re a group of friends from Buckingham County, all over the age of 60, who want to enrich their lives through both meaningful friendships and challenging outdoor adventures.

They believe that aging gratefully with a high level of curiosity about everything, will create the best environment to remain mentally and physically active. Collectively, the group’s interests run from biking to hiking, kayaking and photography to reading, knitting, gardening and travel. They hope that by sharing their adventures, the group will inspire others to do the same.