Audie Murphy Monument
We picked this walk on this day in honor the signing by the president of the omnibus outdoors bill, which includes the creation of a new designated wilderness along its route – Brush Mountain East. The new protected area is one of seven new wildernesses bought into being by the Virginia Ridge and Valley Act, which protects 43,000 acres as wilderness, and also creates more than 10,000 acres in two new National
Scenic Areas in Virginia.
That bill, versions of which go back as far as 2004, was sponsored by both Senators Webb and Warner in the Senate and had sponsorship or contributions from Representatives Goodlatte and Boucher in the House.
The good climb up from the low point at Trout Creek along 620 was of course no less steep by virtue of the new designation, but the approach from this direction does get you on the ridge line sooner than from the other way up, allowing for a pleasant and easy second half of the walk to lunch.
The monument to the fallen war hero is more decorated every time we visit it, with more and more intricate cairn work off to the side, and more and more flowers (artificial for sturdiness), flags and other leave-behinds all around the stone marker. We scouted around for the perfect lunch spot on both the east and west sides of the ridge and
ended up, as is The Day Hiker's wont, on the east – in the sun and not in the wind. Frisky puppy Cookie was tired enough to allow us a brief nap before we started back through the woods with just a touch of new meaning to them.
April 4, 2009