Ramble On

Friday, June 20, 2014

Tessie's "AT Section Hike" Adventure

Tessie is conditioned to think that anytime I pick up the car keys while we are at Hawksbill Cabin, she is going for a ride.  On weekend mornings she has a pretty good chance of being right - but at other times, it's just as likely I'm heading out there because I forgot my phone charger.

However, last Sunday morning she was right, and we went out for a walk of a mile or so on the Luray Hawksbill Greenway.  We got back after and hour or so and I went to work writing - that came easy to me, so I finished earlier than I expected.  I decided we might head up to Shenandoah National Park for a short hike.
 The parking lot at the trailhead I wanted to go on was full, with spillover traffic on the shoulders, so we passed on.  I settled for the Pinnacles picnic area instead, with the thought we might explore a stretch of the AT in the direction of Mary's Rock - no plan for how far we'd go, just a leg stretcher and to keep Tessie trained on how to walk on leash in those conditions.

Off we went, her leading the way - she is a border collie, after all.  There was an easy leg on this hike, about 3 tenths of a mile and negligible altitude changes, to Jewell Hollow overlook.  I decided we'd keep it short and I'd work with her coming up on the rocks there with me, and on walking carefully on brick walls.

We did take a little side trail for another tenth of a mile maybe.  All totaled, 8 tenths of a mile or so, and then negligible altitude change.  We did get to take in a wonderful view of Page Valley, with Lake Arrowhead in the foreground, and she had quite a few good sniffs along the AT.

One thing I've come to enjoy about stretches of the AT in the vicinity of Thornton Gap - that is the construction of the trails.  Although the main tread areas can be well worn, often the masonry has held up very well, considering some of it was laid down in the 1930's by the CCC.  You can see this along the right side of the trail in the photo above - nicely mitered edge to that border.

This was Tessie's fourth hike in Shenandoah National Park.  It's fun to think about this as an actual shakedown for a longer day hike with something that could seriously be called a section - say 10 miles or so.  I'll have to think about how we would provision it, and maybe we'll take something like that on in the fall.

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