Lisa and I are in the open for the first half of our climb on this trail and then we plunge into the thick spruce-fir forest to get the rest of the way up the 329-foot rise. Dense, dark, damp, green, mossy, it feels like a rain forest. It’s the first time on our summit hike of Mount Rogers today that we are really among thick trees. Half a mile, round a corner and step into a small clearing. Tree stump in the middle, boulder, rocky ground, trees, lots of trees. Guy leaning against the boulder.