This shot was supposed to show McAfee Knob in the background; instead it shows a mildly simpering hiker with hazy McAfee silhouette back there.
In Carvins Cove Natural Area from Bennett Springs parking area: Hi Dee Ho Trail to Brushy Mountain Trail to Four Gorge Trail to Hi Dee Ho Trail loop. About 7.5 miles.
We decided the first day of muzzleloader season was a good one to walk where no one hunts. And on a perfect weather day for hiking, we started out on trails we've done many times, and then built a loop with two legs we hadn't ever explored.
The Hi Dee Ho climbs about 1.6 up the side of Brushy Mountain, and as The Day Hiker points out, seems to get easier and shorter each time we climb it. This wouldn't be the case for me alone, but her bent to gobble up hills continues unabated.
The Brushy Mountain Trail, a wide forest road trail that meanders along the ridge, affording views east toward the reservoir and west toward the McAfee pinnacle and the ridgeline toward Tinker Cliffs.
The new part for us was to take the hairpin turn at the fire pit, to head back toward the parking lot. The road/trail slopes down gently along here, and it took us a while to find a sunny spot for lunch, with the mountain already casting a shadow down over its side in early afternoon.
Along the last section – the Four Gorge Trail – we counted seven possible gorges, but decided there probably were just four "real" ones. We'd heard a cyclist talk about the endless up and down of the Four Gorge, but on foot, with its little climbs in and out of the low spots, it is a pleasant and easy walk.
How to get there: Va. 311 west from Salem to Bennett Springs Road to parking on the right.
October 30, 2010 Hike