Ramble On

Monday, November 18, 2013

"75 @ 75" Project - a Wrap

Selfie on one of the first 75 @ 75 hikes to
Overall Run.
Yesterday I needed to replace my dog walking shoes, and I really like the Patagonia Men's Drifter A/C Hiking Shoe.  As I browsed the hiking books at REI, I was reminded that my last post on the “75 @ 75” project was a year ago, and I never met my objective for this initiative.  I guess it is time to write some wrap up posts and move on.

I designed the 75 @ 75 project to be a series of hikes I planned to take as a way to honor the 75th anniversary of the founding of Shenandoah National Park.  The hikes chosen were moderately strenuous, at least five miles in length and including a net elevation change of at least 500 feet.  Even though I have completed quite a few hikes in the park that did not qualify by this definition, my final status on the project (shown in the accompanying table) was seven hikes completed with total mileage of 54.8 miles. 

I simply ran out of time for the project, since these were all to be completed in the 2011-2012 timeframe to coincide with the park’s anniversary.  I plan to continue to check the box on the hikes from my original list, but since they will be done outside of the timeframe for the project, it’s time to put an end to 75 @ 75. I want the closure. 

Here’s one of the lists (sourced from the Heatwole guide, which is now out of print and not even available on Amazon at the moment) I compiled to identify appropriate hikes. The hikes in bold were completed during my 75 @ 75 attempt.

  • Hike 1 - Bluff Trail/AT, mile post 17.6, distance 12.8 miles, altitude change 2,400.  Includes two summits and some views, and about 5 miles on the AT.
  • Hike 2 - Piney Branch/Piney Ridge, mile post 22.1, distance 8.3 miles, altitude change 1,700 feet.  This one includes a mountain cemetery, old homesite, stream crossings, and a small waterfall. 
  •  Hike 3 - Knob Mountain/Jeremy’s Run, mile post 24.1 (at the Elk Wallow Wayside), two versions either 11.7 or 14.0 miles, elevation from 2,600 to 2,800 feet.  There’s a stream with cascades and a falls, and a summit.
  •  Hike 4 - Hazel Mountain, mile post 33.5, distance 5.3 miles and elevation change 1,070 feet (the easiest on this list!).  No summit here, but it is interesting for a combination of a falls, cascade, and a small cave.  Depending on when we go, maybe no spelunking – the snake scene in True Grit still creeps me out.
    Staircase on the Hazel Mountain trail.
  • Hike 5 - Pocosin Mission and South River Falls, mile post 59.5, distance 8.5 miles and elevation 1,800 feet.  This combines the ruin of an old cabin and mission, and then takes in the South River Falls, which was one of Chris’s and my main training hikes for the Half Dome a few years ago.
  • Hike 6 - Black Rock/Trayfoot Mountain Loop, mile post 84.8 or 87.4, distance approximately 10.0 miles and unestimated altitude change.  This trail is shown on one of the Park’s maps, which include distances but not altitudes.  This will take in the rock scramble at Black Rock, an old fire observation point on Trayfoot Mountain, and the hollow where the Black Rock Springs Hotel was located in the late 1800’s.
  • Hike 7 - Riprap Hollow and Wildcat Ridge, mile post 90.0, 9.8 miles and 2,400 feet.  Includes the two Civil War lookout points Chimney Rock and Cavalry Rock, 3 miles of AT section, cascades and a falls.
  • Bonus Hike (8):  Hannah Run and Hot-Short Mountain, mile post 35.1, 9.1 miles and 2,800 feet.  This one includes ruins of mountaineer cabins and a stream.

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