A quarantine getaway to Hungry Mother State Park


Kelly Boyd

The Boyd family and Crothers on their camping trip in Hungry Mother State Park

Emma Halman, Staffer

The extra challenges brought on by COVID-19 have made the idea of spending time in the outdoors more appealing than ever, especially to English and Theory of Knowledge teacher Kelly Boyd and French teacher Elisabeth Crothers, who traveled this summer to the highest point in Virginia, Mount Rogers. 

Boyd and Crothers mentioned the idea of going hiking together in March and were finally able to make it happen in August, after finalizing their plans earlier that month. 

Accompanied by her husband and PA Band Director John Boyd and their two children, Gabriel and Shannon, the Boyd family and Crothers all camped together at Hungry Mother State Park, a small and secluded campground, for three days and two nights. 

Cooking all of their food over a fire with either a dutch oven or propane stove, Crothers felt like she was living the “true camping experience.” She even tried sleeping on a hammock for the first night before the weather got the best of her. 

The most memorable event of the trip for the group was their hike up Mount Rogers, where they were surrounded by the beauty of natural springs, wild birds, and blackberries. 

Mrs. Boyd explained, “We hiked about 12 miles that day, saw a delightful assortment of views and mini-biomes. We started with a sort of desert-like low brush field as we ascended, entered a deciduous forest, and walked around horse trails.”  

One of the horse fields they found had an extremely clear echo, so clear that “it sounded like Mr. Boyd and Gabriel were speaking to us from across the field,” described Mrs. Boyd. 

John Boyd and Crothers mapping out their hike in Hungry Mother State Park. Provided by Kelly Boyd.

The hike, while it was gratifying, also came with a tough seven-hour commitment. As Crothers reflected on the experience, “It was uplifting and it was energizing, but we struggled because it was a long walk. Mount Rogers is not one of those hikes where you reach the top and you have a beautiful view. You are in the woods, there is no view.”

Initially, the group was worried about Shannon making it to the top of the mountain; yet, she ended up providing the final words of encouragement the group needed to finish their hike. Mrs. Boyd explained, “She felt very accomplished making it to the top, as did we all.”

After passing by several hikers who were descending the mountain, the Boyd family and Crothers finally arrived at “a spruce-forest right up there around the top of the mountain where the USGS Marker for the highest point announced our triumphant accomplishment,” said Mrs. Boyd. 

A definite highlight of a strange summer, the Boyd family and Crothers continue to relive the fun of their trip, Crothers exclaiming, “We can’t wait to go on another one.”