Hiking - WednesdaysEvery Wednesday at 9:00am-3:00pm
Next Meeting: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 9:00am
Return is usually by 4 p.m. Senior Center volunteers plan and lead the hikes.
Welcome Wednesday hikers!
We meet at the Center parking lot, leaving promptly at 9AM: in the summer (June-September), 8AM. Return times vary: 2-6PM depending on distance from Charlottesville & hike length. Notify the hike leader when you plan to meet the group at the trailhead or a convenient waypoint. Arrange any shortened version of these hikes in advance with the hike leader.
Elevation changes range from 1200’-3000’ with an average of 1500’-2500’; distances, about 8 miles with some at 10.
Bring lunch, snacks, ample water, change of shoes with a bag for muddy boots & $5 for the carpool driver.
Wear & bring appropriate clothing: hiking boots or shoes, rain-gear, & spare socks. Traction devices like Stabilicer ice cleats are mandatory for wintery conditions. Consider trekking poles for stream crossings & steep descents.
Rambling about the Blue Ridge can be a vigorous & taxing enterprise even for the experienced. We gladly welcome new hikers & encourage a spirit of camaraderie with a touch of laughter & much joy.
Dogs are not allowed.
SCHEDULE FOR WEDNESDAY HIKES
Date TBD—Three Ridges Overlook, Bushwhack through Wintergreen trail onto Old AT, to Dripping Rock, to Overlook on New AT south, 9-mile loop, 1000’ elevation, PATC Map12 park-Three Ridges Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway MP13.3, Leader-Pete Fink
2017 SCHEDULED HIKES:
FEBRUARY February 1 Sherando Lake, White Rock Gap, Slacks, Torry Ridge, East Blue trails a, 9.4-mile loop, 1900’. For those days when the Blue Ridge Parkway is closed, access this spectacular loop from its base, ascending the more gradual slopes of White Rock Gap climbing further to the rocky Torry Ridge with its far ranging east-west views now opened by fallen leaves; park-Sherando Lake winter gate, VA664, PATC map12. Leader-Lance Lauerhass
February 8 Swift Run Gap, Bald Face Mtn., AT north, 10-mile, O&B, 2400’. Take this AT section past an ancient yet still maintained ridgeline cemetery, to Saddleback Mtn. Peak thence to Bald Mountain for lunch; retrace your steps but take in the vast Shenandoah Valley from the southwest perspective; park-Swift Run Gap, north, PATC map10. Leader-Anne Colgate
February 15 Furnace Mt. & Trayfoot Peaks, 10-mile, O&B, 2400’. At 200 yards from VA663, Grottoes fire road gate, ford Madison Run on massive boulders then ascend Furnace Mt. first through a tunnel of mountain laurel then along a westward exposed trail of a sandy, whitened, uplifted seabed. In about two miles reach the saddle then ascend further to Furnace Mt’s. peak & overlook. From there, return to the saddle then the intersection with Trayfoot Mt. trail for a welcome lunch & final descent to Madison Run, PATC map11. Leader-Maynard Davis
February 22 Chimney Rock-Three Ridges Wilderness Area, AT north, 10-mile, O&B, 2200’. Take on Three Ridges from the southern terminus at route 56. For an additional two miles O & B, bag the Three Ridges summit. On your way up, pass the Mau Har trail intersection just above a saddle leading to Harpers Creek shelter then assault the heavily wooded (now bare) southern flank of the mighty Three Ridges. Often deep with snowdrifts, take along your traction devices, gaiters & trekking poles; park VA56 trailhead, PATC map12. Leader-Irene Burke
MARCH March 1 Thornton Gap to The Pinnacle Mtn. AT south, 8.8-mile, O&B, 2200’. From Thornton Gap climb the AT along a fern studded trail walled to the west & clear to the east with 50-mile views across Virginia’s Piedmont. Pass the cut-off to Mary’s Rock, a 180° breathtaking scene west to the Alleghenies you’ll take-in on your decent. Pass Byrd’s Nest Hut #3; hike on, to capture a pleasant lunch spot atop The Pinnacle Mtn. The rocky path back is all down hill, except for a brief trek to Mary’s Rock, PATC map10. Leader-Lance Lauerhass
March 8 Mount Torry Furnace, Torry Mtn. ridge, Blue Loop Trail west, lollipop loop with an O&B, 2000’; weave among ancient telegraph poles through blueberry thickets, with east-west aspects along the ridge then descend to the lake at the west Blue Loop Trail & return via the east Blue Loop, the ridge & the furnace; park-Torry Furnace, VA664, PATC map12. Leader-Anne Colgate
March 15 Hazel Mtn., White Rocks, 10.1-mile loop, 2575’. Ascend Buck Ridge’s .3-mile of rock & timber stairs through a narrowing hollow to Hazel Mtn. territory; circle White Rocks to the Hazel River returning to Hazel Mtn. descending Buck Ridge to the trailhead; park VA211 just east of Thornton Gap, PATC map10. Leader-Maynard Davis
March 22 Humpback Rocks, 8.4-mile loop, 2100’. From Humpback Gap parking advance along the AT south on multiple switchbacks heading to Humpback Peak, where the westward cliffs provide a narrow perch for lunch. On your easy descent, loop away from the AT south as you approach The Rocks, Humpback’s main attraction; continue the west loop descent to the gap parking PATC map12. Leader-Irene Burke
March 29 Nicholson Hollow to Hot/Short, Hazel Mt., Catlett, Hannah, Nicholson Hollow, 11.3-mile loop, 2100’. The Catlett Mt.—Short Mt. circuit will pass several sites of stone wall hog enclosures, settlement foundations & chimney remains; park at Nethers Rd., same as for Old Rag Ridge scramble, PATC map10. Leader-Lance Lauerhass
APRIL April 5 Shenandoah Mt., 10-mile O&B, 1000’, section-hike one of the premier, long-distance (>50 miles) ridge-top trails in Virginia, clear views of the West Virginia Alleghenies, park VA250, historic Confederate Breast Works site, Natl. Geo. map791. Leader-Anne Colgate
April 12 Braley Pond to Bald Mt. Peak 9-mile O&B, 2000’, ascend Shenandoah Mt. to the edge of Ramsey’s Draft Wilderness Area dense with wildlife: great-horned owls, pileated woodpeckers, eastern box turtles, newts, efts, crimson & indigo berried shrubs; park-Braley Pond recreation area, 1.1 miles left from a right turn off VA715, from VA250W, Natl. Geo. map791. Leader-Maynard Davis
April 19 Little Devils Stairs, Pole Bridge Link, Piney Branch Upper, Hull School, Keyser Run fire road, 7.7-mile loop, 2200’, hidden, narrow, drippy, mossy gorge; park-Little Devils Stairs trailhead, PATC Map 9. Leader-Irene Burke
April 26 White Rock Gap, Torry Ridge, 9.5-mile loop, 2200’; from the trailhead descend, then climb to the 30’ White Rock Falls, heavy with spring rains, climb further to the BRP & connect with the Slacks trail to Torry Ridge. Purple Iris should be nodding trailside as you head toward the Blue loop, descending to Sherando Lake then up the White Rock Gap trail along a pink Mountain Laurel & fern encrusted trail to conclusion; park BRP, mile post 18.5, PATC map12. Leader-Lance Lauerhass
May 3 The Priest Peak, 8.6-mile, O&B, 3063’, on the southbound, Appalachian Trail, with numerous spectacular views of endless folds of blue-green ridges of the rest of the Religious Range: The Little Priest, The Friar, The Little Friar, & The Cardinal; park VA-56, PATC map13. Leader-Anne Colgate
May 10 Robertson Mtn. 6.8-mile lollipop loop, 2130’. This hike makes up for distance with difficulty. The 1700’ elevation gain in slightly more than 1.5 miles, confers significant bragging rights with a restful fire road approach & conclusion to your exhilarating climb. From the peak, look down on Old Rag to the west; park at entrance to Berry Hollow Fire Road, PATC map10. Leader-Maynard Davis
May 17 The 3 Falls: Lewis, Rose, & Dark: a 9.3-mile loop, 2205’. This elegant circuit captures the magical three at their springtime best with banks of pink & burgundy lady slippers, violets, trillium, Dutchman’s breeches, red-budding maples; park beside the Big Meadows amphitheater at the Lewis Falls/AT trailhead, PATC map10. Leader-Pete Fink
May 24 This is it! The Old Rag Ridge Trail, return Old Rag Saddle Trail, Weakley Hollow Fire Road: a 9.4-mile looping, rock scramble, 2,415’. Pack light; collapse your trekking poles & save for the descent; one of the most popular Mid-Atlantic rambles; park SR600/Nethers Rd, PATC map10. Leader-Lance Lauerhass
May 31 Ramsey’s Draft, Jerry’s Run: 8-mile, O&B, 1200’. May, the perfect time to hike the Ramsey’s Draft Wilderness area when American Pieris is draped with ivory blooms, thickly covering the slopes along the hike. Violets, trillium & lady slipper emerge now, somewhat later at this elevation than in the valley; park Mountain House picnic area, VA250 west of Staunton, Natl. Geo. map791. Leader-Anne Colgate
June 7 Wildcat, Riprap: 9.5-mile loop, 2300’; descend Wildcat to the hollow then up Riprap past Chimney Rock to the AT & back to the Wildcat trailhead. Along the way feel the forest hushed, primeval with ferny growth, hidden pools & gentle cascades, Park MP 92.1, Skyline Drive, PATC map11. Leader-Maynard Davis
June 14 Mine Bank, Mary’s River, 9.7-mile loop, 2200’. Oh to be in St. Mary’s Wilderness now; lush rhododendrons’ deep purple blooms cascading beside every path, dappled with oaken light, their favorite haunt; The parking area is receded on a gravel road 70 yards from the Blue Ridge Parkway, MP23, PATC map12. Leader-Pete Fink
June 21 Graves Mill, Bear Church Rock, 8.6-mile loop, 2200’; Rapidan & Staunton Rivers: falls & pools, low-hanging, mountain laurel tunnels, thick club moss groundcovers & 19th century walled homesteads line both sides of this trail before you lunch at the Bear Church Rock overlook with its unobstructed 360º views of the Appalachian folded, green-forested mountains; park at end of VA662 in the Graves Mill Parking area, PATC map10. Leader-Pete Fink
June 28 Stony Mountain circuit, 10.1-mile loop, 1840’. This secluded hike passes through the Rapidan State Wildlife Management Area offering rock-topped views, a cemetery abandoned since the 1920’s, hidden swimming holes & a trek that climbs at the beginning, ending with a cooling descent; park where VA670/Old Blue Ridge Tpke ends, at the Rose River, PATC map10. Leader-Anne Colgate
Varies; check schedule