Boblett's Gap Shelter
Gail, comfortable on the picnic table at tucked-away Boblett's Gap Shelter.
The Appalachian Trail guidebook talks about some sections of the trail having run "right down the middle" of the roadway that came along a few years after the trail was built to either cover it up or push it aside in this section.
From Black Horse Gap north for the 4.9 miles we walked on this warm but breezy day, that fact is easily evident, as the trail seldom leaves the sight and perhaps never leaves the sound of the paralleling Blue Ridge Parkway.
The good part is that, with this starting point and three crossings of the parkway over the stretch, there is ready and easy access to the trail. One of those crossings is at Harvey's Knob Overlook, where, when we were last here, the lot was full of hawk watchers. On this day, it was empty as we headed north and held one car on our return.
We'd never before made the two-tenths trek down to Boblett's Gap Shelter, and as we did, we crossed a thru-hiker who'd been down for water and a bite to eat. We had the shelter to ourselves for a leisurely lunch, but we crossed several more thru-hikers as we headed back southward, including a lady of about the first hiker's age; they both talked about having started out slowly in Georgia, allowing muscles and tendons to strengthen; and about having caught up to some of the younger hikers who'd gone out fast and then had to endure the dreaded "zero days" of no progress at all on the 2,175-mile walk.
Ours, just 10.2, was nonetheless just the second time we've walked 10 miles this year . . . slackers.
Appalachian Trail from Black Horse Gap to Boblett's Gap Shelter and back. 10.2 miles.
How to get there: Blue Ridge Parkway to milepost 97.7 and small parking area.