Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Weekend Hike - Duncan Knob


With excellent weather forecast, we managed to put together the “winter” hike that we’ve been talking about since January. Although our plan at first was to do a two-day hike on the Massanutten and Tuscarora Trails, taking in over 20 miles and shuttling from the cabin, in the end we decided one day of up to half that distance would probably serve, and we decided to try Duncan Knob (Duncan Knob is the rounded peak in the center of this photo, taken from Luray).
There are a couple of reasons for choosing the hike, but one for doing it in the winter – the Hiking Upward site reviews the hike and has two pictures of timber rattlers guarding the trail. Since the destination is reached after a rock scramble, the pictures are enough to discourage me from the summit in summer.
Chris and I used portions of this hike to prep for our Half Dome expedition back in 2005, since it included a couple of steep climbs and totaled 2,200 feet of elevation gain – half the 4,400 feet of elevation gain on the Half Dome. We did the hike three times but never summitted – because of the snake photos.
We talked our friends Tom and Andy into joining us, and with Howard’s recommendation, finally picked Duncan Knob as the hike of the day. We planned to get to the trailhead at Scotthorn Gap at 11 or so, following a few logistics errands in town. We made our way to Chrisman Hollow, running a half hour late, only to find it still closed – despite sunshine and weather approaching 70.
We quickly rerouted through New Market, looking to come up through the northern entrance to Chrisman Hollow – also closed. A short lunch break, and then finally we drove to the spot on state road 675(?) where the Massanutten Trail crosses – putting Andy’s rental jeep to the test with a couple of stream crossings courtesy of the Forestry Service!

At last, the trailhead, finally at 1pm…quickly making it to this stream crossing, with Tom, Andy and Chris getting out of the way for an oncoming mountain biker. The first of three crossings, this one would prove to be a foreshadowing landmark, as we had to cross it in the dark on the way back.

3 comments:

Evan said...

Wasn't familiar with this trail. Might have to check it out. Thanks for posting.

Jim said...

Evan - it is a great hike and although I had done portions before, on Saturday we summitted (future blog post) - as I mentioned we did this one specifically because of Howard's recommendation over at Evergreen Outfitters...I'm definitely a fan of this trail now. JT

Anonymous said...

Hi Jim,

Nice info - thanks! Tried to use Crisman Hollow Rd over the weekend and found it gated as you report. The person answering phones at the Forest Service says it will reopen to traffic on April 3rd.

Don