High up on Pine Mountain in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area is an area known as the Scales. This June we drove and hiked up to this area.
Basically, it’s nothing more than a grassy, fenced in area used by campers and horse riders. On the other hand, the Scales have been for many, many years the eastern gateway to the high country of Mount Rogers, where ranchers brought their cattle to graze in the summer and then sell during earlier in the 1900s. Livestock was weighed up here (thus the name “Scales”) before the animals trekked back down off the mountain and lost weight (and brought their owners less money when sold).
The Scales are located above 5000′. The Appalachian Trail crosses right above this area. The most direct route from below is Route 613, which is a rugged, rock strewn forest road that requires a high clearance vehicle.
The road eventually crosses a cattle guard. Shortly thereafter the forest opens up to show Pine Mountain and some good views to the north of the valley and ridge mountains in Virginia.
The skies always seem to be a deeper color of blue up here on the mountain.