You get certain days – the weather's perfect, the packed lunch is strongly anticipated, the dog is walking without a limp and The Greatest Day Hiker Of Them All is pleased with her hair – well, you can't ask for much more. Well, at least on a hike.
This walk begins at the new back door of Carvins Cove – the parking area at the end of Timberview Road – and goes up the "other" side of Brushy Mountain with a quick and pretty easy climb. The walk along the Brushy Mountain Trail – the old forest road – is even easier, and offers views across the way at McAfee Knob, and a nice lunch spot at the barbecue grill just shy of where you turn back down the mountain on the Gauntlet.
We had the loop pretty much to ourselves, coming across two or three sets of bikers, one set of hikers and no horses.
At the edge of Carvins Cove, The Day Hiker had a pretty big moment when her dog – in the water illegally no doubt – actually swam for the first time, going after a stick.
In Carvins Cover Nature Preserve: Trough, Brushy Mountain, Gauntlet and Horse Pen trails. About 7.5 miles.
How to get there: Va 419 west of Salem past I-81 entrance to right on Dutch Oven Road and then quick right onto Timberview, to its end at the parking lot.