WEEK # 11
April 30 – May 5
Roanoke/Daleville to Shenandoah
“Still Making Progress Towards Maine”
4/30 – Daleville to Bobletts Gap
5/1 – Bobletts Gap to Harrison Ground
5/2 – Harrison Ground to Bryant Ridge
5/3 – Bryant Ridge to Glasgow
5/4 – U.S. 60 to U.S. 501
5/5 – U.S. 60 to Spy Rock Road
Week 11 was essentially a bridge between two weeks of guest hikers and fun with family and friends. While the journey has not become monotonous, there can be a sameness to some days or there are days with little or no views or unique points of interest. Having visits from Cheryl and a variety of friends in Week 10 was energizing and just fun. I was also looking forward to Week 12 because my plans had me entering the Shenandoah, which was to involve an area generally known to me, known to be special because of its bears, waysides, campgrounds, and frequent overlooks, and would bring out a friend to hike for the five days before I had to come off the trail. So, Week 11 sat between these two exciting weeks.
The week began with an 18-mile day out of Daleville on a beautiful day. Unlike some days when you both feel somewhat alone on the trail and there are a lack of encounters with fellow hikers, I could tell this day that a large number of people were all leaving Daleville and all heading for the same shelter – and the same one I had targeted. After leaving the Troutville/Daleville/Interstate area there were some pretty farm meadows and then a good climb. The rest of the day was filled with a few moderate hills and a fairly long stretch along the Blue Ridge Parkway, which was fairly easy hiking. Just the length of the day – 18 plus miles with a full pack with 4 days of food – made it challenging. I tented up the hill above the shelter due to the unavailability of any good sites near it. A large group tented in the same area.
The following day featured more great weather and some “planned trail magic” as a friend from church drove all the way from Richmond to take me to lunch in Buchanan. Professor and Moose came along with Gerald. It was a very nice visit and always fun to be able to have a burger in town. After an easy, post-lunch hike, the lunch bunch tented at Bryant Ridge shelter by ourselves.
Wednesday involved two long climbs – up Floyd Mountain and then Apple Orchard Mountain. My pack started to bother my back again. I stopped part way up the second climb to rest, eat lunch and do an interview with Mighty Blue for the podcast. Apple Orchard summit featured a FAA tower and a walk through “The Guillotine” (a rock formation) on the way down from the top. With my back hurting I opted to cut the day a little short and get some rest. I walked along the James River and the crossed it on the “iconic” footbridge. I spent the night at Stanimal’s hostel in Glasgow. A 20-mile slack pack was necessary the next day to both set myself up to be picked up by my friends the following day and to “rest” my aching back. This was a long day in warm weather, but it featured very nice trails and a substantial ascent and descent of Punchbowl Mountain and Bluff Mountain – the latter name will always cause me to recall the blizzard conditions that we had to address to survive just before Hot Springs.
The “bridge” between weeks was finalized by another long day, with a full pack. Initially the day called for a 3-mile ascent of Bald Knob. From there the trail rolled through some pretty balds or grassy meadows (with various views) as the day became overcast and cooler. The rain never came, but the trail finished the day within the woodlands with no views and pretty uninteresting terrain.
I arrived on schedule for a pickup by my buddies Ned and Wally. We also gave Sleeves a ride to Devils Backbone and Waynesboro. Next: Five days in the Shenandoah with Wally and then off to Chapel Hill for Brooke’s graduation and Mother’s Day.
Last modified: May 16, 2018