Very tough, still-smilin' Greatest Day Hiker Of Them All enduring drilling rain.
Cornelius Creek Trail to Appalachian Trail to Cornelius Creek Shelter and back. 9.2 miles.
We were headed toward Black Rock for lunch when we set out on this threatening day – about a mile short of where we ended up.
And things looked just fine until soon after we got on the Appalachian Trail – about .7-mile from the viewpoint. The rain began gently and unthreateningly… these little showers happen now and again.
We're lucky as can be with rain on hikes (maybe creating that perspective of it ain' nothin), but weren't on this day, as the drizzle grew to rain and the rain became a downpour, to the extent that the trail, heading south down the mountainside from where we would have taken the little 100-yard blue-blazer to Black Rock, became a small, fast-moving stream as we first hopped from side to side and then succumbed at points to wading the AT.
We were sure, given that the thru-hikers were still coming through – we paused briefly during the hardest rain to say hi to one – that the shelter would be full of people, but we arrived to have its dryness all to ourselves for lunch. We spread out pretty good across the front – wet clothes here, socks there, food here, etc., to the point that when a thru-guy did walk up, as we were finished, his first reaction was in his eyes if not his mouth: You all think you own this thing? We recovered quickly, however, gathering our wet stuff and then offering him that dream-come-true for any thru-hiker or distance hiker – the rest of our… ICE!
Pretty soon his hiking companion came along, and we had a little ice left for her too; and then a group of four more hikers stopping by to dry out.
We walked back under still-cloudy skies, but took on no more rain in our new dry layers.
How to get there: Exit 168 from I-81 onto 614 to FR 59 to the parking lot at its end. For more on these and other Roanoke/Botetourt area hikes visit the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club.
June 13, 2010 Hike