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Gail at the Audie Murphy Monument.
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Kurt at the Pogo Campsite.
May 2: Griggs Trail to Appalachian Trail/Pogo Campsite to Black Rock overlook and back. 3.2 miles.
Our northern swing took us to an Orioles game on Sunday and then out west for a short hike before heading home. The Pogo Campsite appeared less tree-strewn than in our visit exactly a year earlier, mostly as a result of stuff growing up, and maybe a few of those felled trees being used for fires. The view from Black Rock is pretty much the same one as from Annapolis Rocks, a little farther south on the trail, and we had the spot to ourselves on this Monday midday.
May 7: Appalachian Trail from Va. 621 to Audie Murphy Memorial and back. 7.4 miles.
A good climb, a good place for lunch, and a flattering moment in the woods to be recognized as Blue Ridge Country editor, by a hiker who crossed us as we headed up and then turned to call out, “Hey, I know who you are!” and then talked about having just signed up for three more years of a subscription. As we sat on the bench at the overlook just beyond the memorial, we watched a shower come across Sinking Creek Mountain and up the valley toward us; 10 minutes under the rain tarp and it was gone.
May 13: Urban walk from home along the Roanoke River Greenway to Fork in the Alley and back. 5.5 miles.
Always a happy day for The Day Hiker when the lunch spot is, you know, a real lunch spot.
May 22: Chestnut Ridge Loop Trail. 5.4 miles.
The Roanoke area’s easiest 5.4 was pretty alive with runners and walkers on this nice day. And having your choice of dozens of picnic tables in the sadly defunct campground always makes for a nice lunch.
May 30: Appalachian Trail from Va. 614 at Jennings Creek southward in search of the Button Hill Trail and back. 5.4 miles.
We’ve walked this section many times, usually headed to the farther-than-the-distance Bryant Ridge Shelter (which, btw, was posted as closed due to bear activity), but on this day set out to find a trail we’d never visited nor even noticed. And despite our detailed search both out and back, I don’t think we found the alleged Button Hill Trail and its alleged blue blazes. We did get off the AT onto a trail remnant, up the the ridgeline pathway to the deer?-blind, and ate lunch along it. The climb of Fork Mountain, at the start, is maybe the hardest 1,000-foot climb around here, to the point that The Day Hiker, usually way ahead, was a little easier to keep up with than usual. The trail magic table at Jennings Creek—well-manned and full of snacks as we headed into the hike—was gone by the time we got back. We crossed perhaps half a dozen thru-hikers who had likely benefitted.