Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Trail Recap 7 of 27: Groseclose to Bland, VA

Chestnut Ridge, open summit and shelter

Groseclose to Bland: ~67 miles

General Impression/Theme:  Lonely Trail - I did this section in the dead of winter (late January).  I would walk for days without meeting anyone else on the trail.

People:  Staying at Woods Hole Hostel my daughter and I had the honor of meeting Michael, but Neville was out of town.  The only person I met on the trail turned out to be my first 'fan'.  We met on a bitter cold day along the ridgetop of Garden Mountain.  He was just out on a day hike with his dog and his GPS.  The next day, he emailed me saying he only realized who I was after we parted.  He had been following me on Trail Journals.  Unfortunately I've lost that email, and therefore also his name.

Supply and overnight:  The Kangaroo 24h gas station at the interstate exit, Bland, VA.  Also the Wal-Mart in Marion, VA.

Worst Memory:  Locked my keys in my van (and left it running) when my daughter and I were headed in to watch a movie in Blacksburg.  Had to wait 45 minutes for AAA to arrive and missed the first half hour of the movie.

Best Day Hike:  Chestnut Ridge with its open summit and expansive meadows with views down to "God's Thumbprint" (Burke's Garden).  Getting to the trail access points takes a lot of driving and the roads aren't great.  From the south it's an 8 mile drive up the rough gravel VA 625.  From the north you can drive up to Walker Gap, though you may need a four-wheel drive vehicle.

Another great hike is the climb up to Glade Mountain from the Settlers' Museum near Groseclose/Adkins.  The trail follows the noisy tumbling Vaught Branch much of the way, then up on top of the ridge of Glade Mountain you'll pass an amazing collection of twisted and contorted trees.  I call this the 'enchanted forest'.

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