Section 15 (AT in a Day)

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Rt.43/Pkwy Dr. in Buchanan, VA to Shumate Bridge in Pearisburg, VA - 113.9 miles

Section Chief: Ryan Nightingale '13

Va.43/Bearwallow Gap to Black Horse Gap/Blue Ridge Parkway mile 97.7-8.1 miles

Mountain Bikers

Black Horse Gap/Blue Ridge Parkway mile 97.7 to US 220-13.6 miles

Hikers: Mayda Nathan ’08, Ruth Hupart ‘08

Mayda.jpg Highlights:

- Red efts: We came across these little jewel-like beasties frequently in the first several miles of our hike. The fallen red dogwood leaves underfoot were unnervingly similar in hue to the efts, putting us on edge as we walked. As far as we know, no newts were harmed in the hiking of this section.

- Fall colors: New England unfairly takes most of the credit for fall color. As we discovered, the Blue Ridge Mountains put on a mean display of autumn foliage, too. Glimpses through the trees at the colorful hills beyond would set us ooh-ing and ah-ing.

- Appalachian lexicon: Hollows. Gaps. Knobs. We love the colorful Appalachian geographical terms. Sometimes, the words are more alluring than the terrain. Anticipating Fullhardt Knob, we expected a rocky, rounded outcrop, and got instead a modest tree-covered hill.

- Inquisitive deer: Near the end of our hike, we rounded a bend and came face to face with a just-as-surprised doe standing in the middle of the trail. Considering this was Virginia, we expected her to high-tail it into the woods. Instead she stood staring at us, going through a series of hilariously theatrical reactions, craning her neck and ogling us: “Whoa, is that a…? Human? What the…? Another one?!”. If she had eyebrows, they would have raised higher and higher in astonishment. Either she was naïve or very dumb. Finally, her curiosity satisfied, she sassily flipped up her tail and minced into the trees.

- Pastoral scenery: The Blue Ridge Mountains may not have the rugged glamour of the White Mountains, but they are beautiful in their own way. Particularly in the quaint way in which towns and farms snuggle right up to the hills. Once we emerged from the Jefferson National Forest, we enjoyed climbing hand-made ladders over wire fences, crossing shady brooks running through pastures, and taking in the views of rural Virginia in autumn.

US 220 to McAfee Knob-16.1 miles

Hikers: Sean Mann '05 and Adam Tapley '03

Sean.jpg A great section of hiking, with some wonderful views and cliff bands. We drove with Mayda Nathan '08 and Ruth Hupart '08 the four hours from DC, dropped them off in the rain at their trailhead on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The rain stopped by the time we reached our own trailhead and we set off from the car in pleasantly overcast hiking weather.

Few people were out in the long middle section of our trail, far from the road.  Cliff bands of metamorphosed sandstone added variety, views, exploring and bouldering opportunities all the way to McAfee Knob.  Great to have an excuse to head out to a part of the trail I would never have gotten to do otherwise.  Beautiful autumn day too!

Happy Birthday DOC!


McAfee Knob to Rt. 624- 9.6 miles

Hikers: Jonathan den Hartog and Zackary Whitlow

VA 624 to McAfee Knob (Southern VA)

My buddy Zackary Whitlow and I hit the road early hoping to beat the rain and make it back home before dark. Kicking things off at the trailhead we bumped into Brian Meadowcroft of Virginia Tech, a fellow AT-In-a-Day'er who was covering a section of the trail just south of our route. After wishing him luck we parted ways, heading north towards McAfee. A light rain and several cattle kept us company for the first few miles and we then made our way up Gravelly Ridge. The path followed a steep ridge for a few miles affording excellent views along the way. Great trail! We continued north, winding our way up to McAfee Knob where we stopped to share a lunch with other hikers at the peak. You could see for miles at the top, with Roanoke and the Blue Ridge on one side and Jefferson National Forest and West Virginia on the other. It was an outstanding view and a great way to cap off the trip

Thanks to the club organizers for putting this event together. No matter where I go for an outdoor excursion it always makes me think about my years in New Hampshire and adventures I shared with others in the club. I suppose it all began on my freshman DOC trip, where I learned how much fun it can be to take a walk in the woods!

Jonathan den Hartog D03, Th05

Va.624 to Trout Creek Road-8 miles

Hiker: Brian Meadowcroft

Trout Creek Road to Craig Creek Rd. -7 miles

Hiker: Gordie Z

Craig Creek Rd. to Va.42-12.3 miles

Hiker: Chris Rose

Va.42 to Va.601/Rocky Gap-4.4 miles

Hiker: David Ziegler

Va.601/Rocky Gap to Va.635 15.2 miles

DOC students

Va.635 to US 460/Sentator Shumate Bridge-19.1 miles

DOC students