More Great Hiking in VA

It’s A Big State

The Appalachian Trail travels through 14 states, but Virginia makes up 25% of the trail. I haven’t been putting in nearly the number of miles that I had hoped, but when each day is either 90 plus degrees or has thunderstorms, the prudent course of action is to cut back. With good weather in the coming week’s forecast, I’m hoping to crank out some miles.

Unfortunately,  the Dragon’s Tooth was a bit anticlimactic. But, the winning McAfee Knob photo, as voted on by our studio audience, was photo number two. Thanks to all who voted.

Day 109 – 4 Pines to Rt. 621 (15 miles) 

Day 110 – Rt. 621 to Laurel Creek shelter (15 miles) 

Day 111 – Laurel Creek shelter to Bailey Gap (14 miles) 

Day 112 – Bailey Gap shelter to Rice Field shelter (17 miles) 

American Heroes

On Brush Mountain, the trail brings you past a memorial for Audie Murphy, who died in a plane crash nearby. Audie Murphy was the most decorated soldier during World War II, earning a Medal of Honor and three Purple Hearts, among others. This powerful monument is made especially moving by the personal mementos of loved ones that people have placed around the memorial, including dog tags and service medals.

Your homework assignment is to perform an online search of Audie Murphy quotes to determine what “bravery” is. The winning prize is that you’ll be a better person.

Rice Field Shelter

Shelters on the AT are typically at low elevations, usually in valleys in order to have access to a water supply. On day 111 I stayed at Rice Field shelter, which is unique in that it’s on a high Ridge overlooking a valley. Below are the sunset and following morning sunrise.

Trail Magic

Since there are so few hikers in the south, trail magic has really dried up. Thus my surprise when stumbled upon Fresh Ground on the morning of day 112. Fresh Ground is a legend on the trail, providing breakfast and lunches to hikers for 11 years. Breakfast included bacon, sausage, eggs, blueberry pancakes, home fries, bananas, oranges, grapes, coffee, juice and Gatorade.

The day prior, hiker Billy Goat met up with Fresh Ground.  Before moving on, Billy Goat mentioned us, and Fresh Ground went out of his way to meet up with us. The trail provides!

Scenes From The Trail

I’ve always had a hidden desire to be at the contintal divide, and pee on both sides. I worked out the next best thing.

I learned a new term – silk blazing. This is when you are the first person on the trail in the morning and need to walk through all the spider webs. Necessity is the mother of invention. A spiderweb and my solution:

That’s a stick tucked into my hat.

And what about this?

What’s In The Forest?


Dragon’s Tooth, with Spokes and my finger Hornets nest – mid trail

350 year old oak tree

Thanks for listening.

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