22 Oct Appalachian Trail Blue Ridge Parkway Section
On October 10, 2019, I began a 199.5 mile southbound section hike from Swift Run Gap in Shenandoah National Park (AT southbound mile 1282.6) to Virginia Route 311, Catawba, VA (AT southbound mile 1482.1). Most of this section generally followed the Blue Ridge Parkway between Waynesboro, VA and Daleville, VA. I hiked 11 days, finishing on October 20th.
Swift Run Gap, Oct 10, 2019, Thursday
At mile 1305. Hiked 22.4 miles today.
Started at the park entrance at Swift Run Gap. It was a pleasant day and though the trail was easy, my legs and feet are sore. The deer here aren’t afraid of humans. I walked past a doe that stood 3 feet off the trail and it never budged. It is not 8 pm yet, but I’m already going to sleep. Tonight, I am tenting on the side of the trail, a little beyond Dundo Picnic Area.
Last night, I drove to Rockfish Gap near Waynesboro and slept next to my car for the rest of the night. People kept driving up and getting out of their cars, even as late as 2:30 am. Not liking this much, I moved inside the car, but I still didn’t sleep well.
Here is the view early in the morning of my first day heading south from Swift Run Gap.
Waynesboro – Stanimal’s Hostel, October 11, 2019, Friday
Hiked 23.3 miles today, plus another 0.4 miles for water. At mile 1328.3. I finished the day at Rockfish Gap where I had my car parked. I am staying at Stanimal’s hostel and shuttling my car to Catawba in the morning. Meanwhile, I’m eating at the local Chinese Buffet, getting a hot shower, and shopping at Kroger for resupplies. (Most of my resupply for the next 7 days was already in the trunk of my car.)
Wintergreen View, October 12, 2019, Saturday
At mile 1340.6 Hiked 12.2 miles today after shuttling my car to Catawba from Waynesboro. I didn’t start hiking until 11:30 am and I struggled up Humpback Mountain with a pack made heavier with 7 – 8 days of food. Tented at Wintergreen view near nice rock outcroppings.
Water has been scarce. Here is where I collected standing water and a lot of floaters. I strained the water through cloth and treated it well with chlorine.
My reward for all of that climbing.
View from Wintergreen View.
My campsite at Wintergreen View.
On Side of The Priest, October 13, 2019, Sunday
At mile 1360.9. Hiked 20.3 miles today.
Started hiking in the dark at 6:40 am. In the early morning, I walked up on a group of 5 deer. It was a tough day with a lot of climbing through Three Ridges and Priest Wilderness. I camped near view at two thirds up the Priest.
Here is the swinging bridge over the Tye River. It is a fun bridge because it really pitches back and forth.
Here I am standing on an outcropping part way up The Priest. I camped about 30 yards straight up from this spot.
Pudding Day, October 14, 2019, Monday
At mile 1385.3. Hiked 24.4 miles today.
Today the trail was usually easy with wooded trail and cool winds, but right out of the sleeping bag I had to climb the Priest. At the end of day, I enjoyed some beautiful walks across high grassy balds.
For dinner, I ate chicken teriyaki by headlamp at Brown Mountain Creek Shelter. Dessert was chocolate pudding. For once, I actually slept in the shelter. I am the only person here.
Here is Brown Mountain Creek Shelter the next morning. (It was dark when I arrived the day before.)
Bluff Mountain, October 15, 2019, Tuesday
At mile 1407.5. Hiked 22.2 miles today.
Today I saw 2 snakes and one frog in a spring. Bluff Mountain was the big climb of the day.
Here is another swinging bridge.
Here is a view of the James River. Apple Orchard Mountain lies beyond.
Here is the Foot Bridge across the James River. It was dedicated in the year 2000. It is a foot bridge that is named in honor of a man named Foot.
Wet and Cold, October 16, 2019, Wednesday
At mile 1425.4. Hiked 17.9 miles today.
It started raining at around 5:30 am. I took my time getting started but soon realized that the rain wasn’t going away. After hiking all morning in the rain I was soaked because my rain gear didn’t work, particularly the jacket. The winds picked up and the temps dropped and the rain blew. I kept moving up the mountain in an attempt to stay warm. Tonight I am tenting next to Cornelius Creek Shelter. Highlights of the day were Apple Orchard Mountain and Black Rock overlook.
October 17, 2019, Thursday
At mile 1445.2. Hiked 19.8 miles today.
Cool and breezy made for pleasant hiking. My feet are beat up and legs sore, but it was a good day.
Finally, some nice leaf color.
Here is an American Chestnut tree.
Town Night, October 18 2019, Friday
At mile 1463.3. Hiked 18.1 miles today. Spent night at Super 8 motel. Ate supper at Lil Pig.
Bear, October 19, 2019, Saturday
At mile 1477.7. Hiked 15.4 miles today. Tenting at Campbell Shelter. Saw bear climbing down a tree 0.6 miles before reaching the Shelter.
A cloud covered Carvins Cove Reservoir. McAffee Knob is the pointed mountain in the distance.
The trail is sheltered with a rock ledge.
McAffee Knob, October 20, 2019, Sunday
Finished section at mile 1482.1. Hiked 4.4 miles today.
It rained all night long and the floor of my tent leaked. I packed up my wet gear and headed out into the rain to my car. I passed McAffee Knob, but with the rain and clouds, there was no view and no photo ops.