Camera battery failed on this hike, but here's a shot of McAfee Knob on a different day.
When all else fails (we again couldn't find the trailhead to go up Fort Lewis Mountain), we seem to end up goin' on up to McAfee Knob. After all, where is there a prettier view around Roanoke?
We began just after driving out of a shower in Salem. And for the full walk up as well as time on the formation for lunch, the skies remained only mildly threatening, with some clouds and occasional thunder far enough away not to feel particularly impending.
The first sprinkles – not even reaching us because of the leaf cover – began less than a mile into the return trip, and within a few minutes had turned to a drilling rain. And on a hot day we didn't even think about rain gear. Well, until Gail got chilled and put on a jacket. But for the most part, we walked the ensuing 20 minutes or so in pouring rain. And even crossed one couple – sans raingear – gleefully on the way up!
One positive for the rain? Well, 50 steps into the hike, I complimented The Greatest Day Hiker on setting out in her newish, plenty-of-ventilation, no-socks Keens. To which she replied uh oh, I forgot to change my shoes. No further mention was made of said shoes, aside from hey, they're pretty comfortable, until – after the deluge – when her feet are drying up pretty quick while I am sloshing along with soaked socks.
We did take the forest road down, for the sake of somewhat smoother walking in the rain, and walked for a time beside, in and around a brand-new and temporary coffee-colored creek upon the roadbed. The rain let up in time for a wicking shirt to get a good start on drying, and open Keens too; socks, not so much.
Appalachian Trail from Va. 311 northward to McAfee Knob and back. 7.4 miles.
How to get there: Va. 311 west out of Salem to the high point for the road on Catawba Mountain and parking on the left.