I started by taking a walk around the parking area of the visitor center – I have been trying to get by here when it was open for some time now – and finally noticed the sign about its permanent closure. There are a couple of fixtures left in a state of neglect, including this large area of benches at the Discovery Way trailhead – more on the trail in a moment.
A second historical note was a Civil War encampment of General Stonewall Jackson, as noted on this interpretive marker. Page Valley and the greater Shenandoah Valley were witness to many of Jackson’s exploits, and New Market Gap is no exception.
After I walked back to the trailhead, I found the sign for the Discovery Trail – I was also doing some work learning how to use my new altimeter watch, and roughly was able to verify the altitude gain of 200 feet over the course of this hike…more to follow on that part of the day. As described in the PATC guide:
I had a nice time up on the mountain despite the disappointment. Combined with an earlier walk around the neighborhood at the Hawksbill Cabin, I managed over 10K steps that day, measured on my new Timex pedometer – and I am very close to my goal of averaging 5K per day for the month of January. But could I recommend these trails? Not really – not without some much needed maintenance and rework of the interpretive information.