Every year for the last 14 years, members of the Virginia Tech and Blacksburg, Virginia community come together to honor the Hokies that were lost during the April 16th shooting in 2007.
One of the ways Virginia Tech has chosen to celebrate the lives of those we lost is through an annual run or walk of 3.2 miles. This event has grown over the years, with friends and family of the VT community coming together across the country and the world to remember and honor our fallen Hokies.
In the past, I have volunteered at this event, handing out water and encouraging the participants of the run. This year, due to the COVID pandemic, the event was held virtually, running from April 16-18.
I decided to do something a little different this year and hike my 3.2 for 32. I headed to Stone Mountain State Park, knowing that it would likely be crowded and intending on choosing a less popular trail. Upon pulling into the parking lot, my suspicions were confirmed when I saw people utilizing the overflow parking areas. While most people headed for the Stone Mountain Loop Trail, I set off on the Wolf Rock Trail, a 1.5 mile trail to a huge granite surface that featured amazing views of the surrounding mountains, and equally important, almost no people.
After taking some time to rest, reflect, and enjoy the scenery, I set off on a 3.23 mile journey to create my own loop by getting on the Black Jack Ridge Trail, and from there, connecting back to the Stone Mountain Loop. I got back to the parking area after exactly 3.23 miles (not including the first 1.5 miles up to Wolf Rock).
This was such a great way to complete the 3.2 for 32. Time spent in nature, getting some peace, and taking an extra moment to reflect really embodied the slogan that so many Hokies have come to adopt which is "Live for 32."
If you're interested in learning more about the ways Virginia Tech has celebrated the lives of those lost, as well as reading the stories of each of the 32 Hokies, check out the website here.
I can confidently say that this is how I will be completing my 3.2 miles from now on.
I like hidden gems, hole-in-the-walls, and offbeat destinations