Tuesday, September 24, 2013

AT Project in VA - On The Loose To Climb A Mountain

Appalachian Trail in VA Project – 6/9/13 - Lambert Meadow to US 220 Daleville – 9.1 Miles

The mysterious backpacker sleeping 20 feet away from me was only a memory the next morning.  The bubbling creek muffled any sounds of him/her packing up and walking away – in the early dawn?  In the dark?  Who knows?  Stephanie and I were not quite so stealthy, feeling a bit stiff from the previous long day, but we pumped ourselves up for an “easy 9-miler.”

Well…not as easy as it looked on paper.  What appears like a flat line on the elevation profile is an endless series of small ups-and-downs, 50 feet gain, 50 feet loss, and more than a few boulders to navigate.  What was also a bit of a surprise was the beauty of this section.

Walking along narrow Tinker Ridge and looking down into the Valley of Virginia

A very long rock wall

Stephanie standing beneath Hay Rock

Our first glimpse of Carvins Cove Natural Reserve, which contains the reservoir for Roanoke and protected watershed.   Carvins Cove is the second largest municipal park in the United States. 

Carvins Cove

The AT builders made sure we didn’t miss any views

They say all good things come to an end, and the last couple of miles downhill to Highway 220 were not fun – okay, borderline miserable.  The day had grown very hot and the descent followed a powerline cut of steep steps in red clay.  Then the trail passes through a boggy, messy, buggy stretch of flood plain along Tinker Creek.  I’m hoping that at other times of the year this is a pleasant place for the local Daleville folks to enjoy. 

Railroad tracks – yay, almost there!

At a large intersection I searched for a white blaze, finally found it nearly completely covered by vines on a tree.   Stephanie was a few minutes behind and I waited for her because I was afraid she would miss it.  I didn’t realize we were 10 minutes from the car. 

Hot, sweaty, tired and triumphant, we cleaned up in a gas station restroom, cranked up the air conditioning full blast, and cruised home.  (Oh, yeah, we also ate everything on the menu at a Cracker Barrel on the way).  

Thanks for joining me, Stephanie!  Here's an old Girl Scout song that I loved hearing the girls sing around the campfire once upon a time: 

On The Loose
"On the loose to climb a mountain, on the loose where I am free
On the loose to live my life the way I think my life should be
For I only have a moment and a whole world yet to see
I'll be searching for tomorrow on the loose... 
There's a trail that I'll be hiking just to see where it might go
Many places yet to visit, many people yet to know    
So in time when you are ready, come and join me, take my hand 

And together we'll share life out on the loose.”   ~Steve Schuch

[A very sweet YouTube video of girls singing this around a campfire is here!]

1 comment:

Eric McCarty said...

Looks like a great section of the AT. Enjoyed the song lyrics. Sounds like a Hobbit song.
"The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say."