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  1. #1
    Rain Man's Avatar
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    AT hike: Pearisburg-to-VA 42, Nov 19-22, 2010

    Let's go hike 40 miles on the Appalachian Trail in southwest Virginia! This will be another section hike, from Pearisburg to VA 42. Very similar itinerary to my last two AT hikes. The total distance is a little shorter, but we have three big climbs instead of just one.

    Expect few leaves on trees, which means lots of views and vistas; crisp air and possible snow/ice; short daylight hours; beautiful sunsets and sunrises. Hunting season (wear plenty of blaze orange!).

    Tentative itinerary:

    Friday drive over to Pearisburg and hike either 4.2 miles to a campsite and spring or 6.8 miles to the first shelter, Rice Field Shelter. Either includes the 1,500' climb from the New River up Peters Mountain.

    Saturday either 15.1 miles or 12.5 miles (depending on first day) to Pine Swamp Branch Shelter. No big climbs. (We might go further if we are doing well, like last time.)

    Sunday 12.7 miles to War Spur Shelter. One big climb of 1,250'. (Again, if we are doing well, we might go further, so Monday would be a shorter day.)

    Monday 8.2 miles out to VA 42 in Sinking Creek Valley. One big climb of 1,600'. Grab lunch locally and drive home to Nashville.

    Questions? Suggestions?

    Rain Man

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    "You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims." --Harriet Woods
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  2. #2
    Rain Man's Avatar
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    Post Link to photo album.

    Some of my photos. Trip report to follow, though the pic captions give a good report in themselves.

    Link to photo album of trip. 98 pics.

    Rain Man

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    "You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims." --Harriet Woods
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  3. #3
    Rain Man's Avatar
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    Post Trip Report

    Here's a short trip report with link to photo album. (Sorry, but no hammocks on this trip!)

    FRIDAY, November 19, 2010:

    We left Nashville around 5:30 a.m. on Friday morning and drove to Pearisburg, arriving around 1:45 p.m. [All times are local.] It was a beautiful day and drive. There were five of us and one (Greg) drove our vehicle to VA 42 in Sinking Creek Valley to meet Sparky at The Huffman House B&B, where I had arranged to leave our car. Sparky and Greg would drive back to Pearisburg in Sparky's car, leave it at The Rendezvous Motel, and catch us on the trail.

    The other four of us (me, my daughter Patricia, Bill, and Cynthia aka 'Mama Bear') hit the trail on Lane Street at 2:30 and were soon crossing the Senator Shumate Bridge over the New River and heading into the woods and up the mountain. The trail has some significant but not major rerouting as it bypasses the Celanese Plant and does not match the red-line version on the ATC's interactive map for this area. But the new (temporary?) reroute was blazed well enough. We stopped about a third of the way up Peters Mountain to regroup and take a leisurely snack break. About three-quarters (?) of the way up we passed an old wash basin in the ground and next to a flat rock on the trail. The basin was full of stagnant water. Apparently this is the water source for the campsite (which I never saw). The climb was long and steep in parts. As we reached the top shoulder of the mountain we got to see a beautiful red sunset and kept hiking in the dusk.

    The moon was full and we had little trouble staying on the trail. We arrived at Rice Field Shelter at 6:45 p.m. and ate our Subway sandwiches for dinner around the camp fire. Greg caught up to us immediately after we arrived, sans Sparky. Sparky had made the tough decision on the climb up Peters Mountain that he was not in proper condition for the weekend, and turned back. I never got to meet him, but respect his decision about his personal health.

    I cowboy camped under the full moon, hoping to see some lingering Leonid Meteors toward dawn, but never did. We had hiked 6.8 miles today.

    SATURDAY, November 20, 2010:

    It was 39 degrees on the thermometer next to my sleeping bag when I got up around 7:00 a.m. Breakfast was fresh scrambled eggs (I pack in half a dozen for me and my daughter) and an orange juice I had packed in.

    I checked the privy just to see it and noted it has an expansive view of Pearis Mountain and much of Pearisburg down in the valley and ... no walls.

    We were on the trail at 8:00 and had great views in Virginia on the right and West Virginia on the left, with mist still filling many of the hollers. It was deer hunting season and we passed lots of hunters, including one field dressing a fresh kill.

    At Symms Gap the ground was covered with small apples and I picked up about a dozen to cook with dinner. Around noon, Patricia, Cynthia, and I caught up with Greg and Bill, our two jack rabbits. Bill was running out of steam due to low blood sugar, he suspected. Now Patricia and Greg became our jack rabbits, as Cynthia and I hiked slowly with Bill, stopping often. During our rest stop at Pine Swamp Branch Shelter, we decided to stop early for the night, at The Captain's Place, if it were okay with him.

    Patricia and I went ahead to find out and soon we were following Stony Creek and looking for the sign to the zip line for The Captain's Place, but were not finding it. Some directions had said it was 8/10ths of a mile from the Shelter while another said it was twice that distance. We finally found the sign and short turn off in just under an hour. I went across the zip line and heard the dogs announce my arrival. The Captain came out as Patricia was sending our packs across the creek and soon she was on her way too.

    The Captain was happy to have us all stay the night and invited us to camp in the yard, sleep in the house, whatever we wanted.

    I built a camp fire and soon the rest of our group arrived. We roasted brats over the fire and under the full moon. I also peeled and cored and chopped the apples and cooked them with some sugar, butter, and apple spice drink mix. YUMM! That night Greg and I camped in the yard near the creek (I under the stars and Greg under a tarp), while the others chose The Captain's living room couches and carpeted floor. It got down to 26 degrees on his back porch. We had hiked 13.3 miles today.

    SUNDAY, November 21, 2010:

    Nothing like a real kitchen for cooking up a fresh scrambled egg omelette with left over brats, Portabello mushrooms, onions, red peppers, and cheese! Not to mention fresh brewed coffee. And WARM with a real kitchen sink for clean up. EXCELLENT!

    Soon we were zipping back across the creek, ready to "rough it" again and hike over some more mountains. Bill decided to take a zero day to get his blood sugar under control. He and The Captain agreed to slack pack us for almost 13 miles. How fun to hike with no pack or a very, very light pack! The four of us took three slack packs, and periodically rotated who got to hike without a pack during the day.

    We got to stroll along Stony Creek for a while longer, then cross a fancy new footbridge, then climb the next mountain. At noon, we met a father-son duo. The son was "Little Engine" and he left Katahadin on June 30. His father, "Hairy Carey," was joining him for a 5-week section. Both from North Carolina.

    Climbed the first mountain and stopped for a sunny snack lunch break atop Wind Rock under blue skies and could see forever. We covered the next three miles in about 50 minutes. Patricia was leading and must have wanted dinner! Soon we were on a long descent to War Spur Shelter and then to VA 632 and John's Creek, where The Captain and Bill were due around 4:00, though we had estimated a 5:00 ETA for us. We relaxed along the side of the road to wait, but after about 15 minutes, Bill came out of the woods on the other side of the road. The Captain had dropped him off around 3:00, so he had already built a nice fire beside the creek a short distance away, but well hidden by the thick rhododendrons. We decided to stay there the night instead of climbing the next mountain and setting up camp in the dark somewhere.

    Dinner this night was "camp fire pizza" and was delicious. Bill had brought me more chocolate milk (and orange juice), so I hardly felt as if I were roughing it. I even made a big pile of dry leaves under some rhododendron near the fire, to cowboy camp for the third night in a row.

    One thing Bill had NOT brought was his own sleeping bag! Amongst bringing us Greg's pack and also the trash bags full of all the stuff we had taken out of our other packs, he had neglected his some of his own stuff. He had his pack, but somehow his sleeping bag had been left behind. He spent most of the night keeping the fire going and sleeping in short increments. He did get to see at least one of the Leonid Meteors. It got down to 30 degrees overnight, but he survived. Again we had a beautiful full moon. We had hiked 12.7 miles.

    MONDAY, November 22, 2010:

    No fresh scrambled eggs today. We were out of them. But breakfast was a hot tortilla pizza with all the fixin's and a chocolate milk for me. We were packed and on the trail by 8:00, ready to tackle a big mountain right away. We had 7.4 miles between us and our vehicle.

    Patricia, Mama Bear, and I caught Bill and Greg at Kelly Knob. As Patricia and I took the blue blaze trail to take photos out on the overlook (it was fabulous!), the other three hit the trail. All of us reconnected at Laurel Creek Shelter, where I put up more mouse tuna can hangers and another clothes line. Soon we were back on the trail.

    The weather was so great I simply enjoyed leisurely strolling on down the mountain. Mama Bear and I lagged but soon saw the "Blair Witch House" and stopped to poke around and take photos. It was a very nice setting on a sunny dry afternoon, but surely would be spooky on a dark rainy night!!!

    Toward the bottom of the mountain the trail and terrain changed. We passed a pond, a pasture, and then came out into a sunny valley, crossing cow fields, stiles, and open areas. At 1:15 we reached VA 42 just as the others (having hiked ahead once again), pulled up in the car. It had been parked half a mile down the road at The Huffman House B&B. We packed away our gear and were on the road for home within a few minutes, driving from Huffman down through Newport, then by Blacksburg to reach I-81. A few had their tummies all set for breakfast and pancakes, so we stopped at the first Cracker Barrel we saw, in Wytheville around 2:30, changed clothes in the car, parking lot, and/or the restrooms, and were soon seated poring over menus. A short while later, the back seat was full of sleeping hikers as I drove down the Interstate. We arrived back in Nashville at 8:45, safe and happy and ready for the next trip. We had hiked a total of 40.2 miles.

    .
    "You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims." --Harriet Woods
    .

  4. #4
    peanuts's Avatar
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    rain man very nice trip report, but where's the hammock
    awesome pictures ....say hello to patricia and jenny for me.
    Peanuts

    "A womans place is on the trail"

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