Southern Virginia on the Appalachian Trail: A Section Hike

Hiking journal: October 2022

Day 1-drove through the remnants of Hurricane Ian to hotel near Winchester, VA.

The rain made driving slower than normal. It was a very long day.

Day 2-More driving to Daleville, VA. Put our cars in place for the next 4 days, shopped, ate and drank at a Mexican restaurant outside the Super 8 where we were staying and got ready for the next day! This would be my last shower for a few days:(

Day 3-on the trail….9.5 miles…..Hay Rock….stayed in Lambert Meadow shelter. Nice people. Someone was banging rocks or sticks together during the evening and then early in the AM….4:30? To harass the hikers🙄

Holding up Hay Rock in addition to the 28 pound on my back😆

Day 4-left Lambert Shelter and hiked to Cawata Shelter but there was a rambunctious Boy Scout group there so we settled into a tent site with about 5-6 other tents. One old man was really sick and vomiting everywhere so we stayed away from him as well as the privy in order to stay healthy.

We saw Tinker Cliffs along the way ! So beautiful. We ate lunch on a Cliff and then hit McAfee Knob toward the end of our day. We took many of the iconic photos of that cliff and stayed a bit despite the cold:)

Hanging out on McAffee Knob

Day 5-hiked to Dragon’s Tooth which was super cool and then to my hiking partner’s car. Switched cars and stayed in a hotel. We did a load of laundry, ate dinner and re-supplied

Another kind hiker took our photo at the bottom of Dragon’s Tooth. This completes the Roanoake Triple Crown section of the Appalachian Trail….a 35 mile section.

Day 6- hiked short distance to shelter and hung out for the afternoon. Met several hikers who stopped by for lunch/water. I read some of my book club book and just relaxed in the woods.

Day 7- water won’t boil due to a faulty gas can. There was a bat in the privy😆😆😆😆

After climbing to 3390 feet in altitude, we arrived at the Eastern Continental Divide:)

We then came across a bunch of cairns, possibly built by early farmers.

We then arrived at oak tree on the AT.

Keffer Oak…..the largest oak tree on the Appalachian Trail

We camped in the woods on the edge of a farm

Day 8- frosty morning…..gas is faulty so we cooked with solid fuel on an emergency stove. Very cold….frost all over my shoes!

I captured this old farm early in the morning amongst the fog and frost.

Made it to the shelter, built and cooked over a fire due to still hiking with the faulty gas can!

Day- 9- 10.6 miles by 2:30!!! We hit Wind Rock at lunch time and travelled over many rocks to get down. Stayed in a hotel in Blacksburg, went out to eat and re- supplied with a FUNCTIONING gas can:)

Wind Rock on a windy cold day😆

Day 10- getting a late start. Went to the grocery store for bread and lighters. I packed really well this morning and have all that I need for the next few days. Hiked to where the Allegheny trail meets the AT. I am having major GI issues today. Drink more water!!!!

We found a great campsite up on the ridge. Had a fire and attempted to roast chestnuts——epic fail

Trouble sleeping due to jets overhead

Our beautiful tent site up on the ridge:)

Day 11- hiked through meadows mostly today 8.6 miles to Rice Field shelter. Now both of us have tummy troubles:( waiting out some rain with 8 others until tomorrow then hiking 7 miles to my hiking partner’s car.

Don’t forget the feral goat stories! We never ran into them but heard many stories of them scaring off hikers!

Day 12- hiked 7 miles in only 4 hours! We’ve got this and we are finding that we can start packing in many more miles than originally planned. We had pizza and ran some errands. Checked into the hikers hostel (Angel’s Watch Hostel) took nice hot showers, then went out for Mexican food.

Pearisburg to Damascus…..166 miles left!!!!!

Day 13- started around 9AM to do 11.6 miles and succeeded!!!! By 1 we hit the Pearson Ledges and by 2 we were at the Angel’s Watch ledge…..3.5 miles from down! Great weather and hiking day. We hiked with another woman we met on the trail, then went out for BBQ.

Now I sit here typing and waiting for laundry to finish:) A full day!

The view from Angel’s Watch ledge

Day 14- got a late start due to packing and moving the cars around. We hiked from 12:45- 5pm and knocked out 9.1 miles!!!!!

We slept by a creek and got to listen to it from the woods. I slept really well:)

Day 15- we hiked 8.6 miles today, mostly uphill:( we stopped and ate lunch at the top of the ridge…..or what we thought was the top.

Jenny Knoll shelter was the ending place today due to the threat of rain.

Our plan tomorrow is to hike the 3 miles out, resupply and hike another 6 miles to the next shelter. Gonna be a full day.

Raining right now and my hiking partner toasted an apple over the fire…..and melted some cheese. What a treat!!!!!

Day 16- so….we hiked 3.3 miles in the morning and then began the task of resupply for the next few days.

We pull up to the gas station and a kid and his friends we keep running into needed a ride, so we gave them one to their trailhead.

Came back into Bland, VA, shopped and ate lunch at a diner inside the Sunoco station. Then we parked the cars and hiked another 6.6 miles to the Harvey Mill shelter.

We made dinner and had a fire before turning in. Getting cold!!!!

Day 17- woke up to 28 degrees. My sleeping bags barely kept me warm last night. We hiked 9.1 miles to my hiking partner’s car.

It was really cold so we stopped in at Bushy Mountain Outpost for lunch. We decided to book a hostel as it is just too cold today and snowing.

After lunch, we continued our trek to the car. We hiked through flurries and at least 3 squalls.

Snowflakes on the rhododendron leaves

We ate dinner at the 1776 Log Cabin Restaurant in Wytesville, VA. Kind of a ride out of the way but a Great dinner!

The drive to the hostel was long and on the way an escaped bull charged at my car! I swerved into a church parking lot and got around the bull.

Later I avoided a deer in the road.

Finally, I took a shower and put on clean clothes! Yeah!!!

We got to sleep in a nice warm bunkhouse however, I took a spill off of a cement step. The fall tore a rather deep gash in my heel. So…..with under 100 miles to go, we sadly had to stop hiking.

We’ll be back!!!!!

Ciao for now…..Karen

Check out my video on YouTube!!!!

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