A round-up of Kurt's August hikes.
August 1: Flat Top Trail up and back. 5.2 miles.
An old favorite was no less inviting than ever, with the great views to the east for lunch and a good crowd of people headed both up and down.
August 9: Andy Layne Trail to AT to Tinker Cliffs and back. 7.2 miles.
It’s a measure of Roanoke’s great bounty of great hikes that when, for the first time ever in more than 20 climbs to McAfee Knob over the years, the parking lot was completely full.—and the overflow capabilities have been reduced by a chained area and the posting of NO PARKING signs along Va. 311—you can simply go own down Catawba Mountain to the west, hop on 779 and be out of the car for another fine hike in less than 10 miles. Not much room in the Andy Layne lot either, and lots of hikers up and down.
August 14: Grassy Ridge Natural Area trails. 5.5 miles.
With Paula Poundstone at the Harvester Performance Center in the evening, we made a Rocky Mount day of it, beginning with most of the loops in the Grassy Ridge area; we had to skip one stretch to get back down in time to get to dinner at the Bootlegger Cafe across from the Harvester, where things were immensely busy and we were glad we’d run the call-ahead play. Paula Poundstone seemed to us nothing less than a comic master, beginning with a sustained stretch of interaction with the audience and then a longer stretch moving back and forth between her own material and the pieces of set-up action she’d carried out with the audience earlier. A great show after and easy hike and a nice meal.
August 22: Appalachian Trail to McAfee Knob and back. 7.8 miles.
Once again, the lot was a challenge. In another first for us, there was a trail volunteer walking the lot, and he directed us toward a spot where a car about to pull out. The walk was crowded and the formation even more so. On the way down, on the forest road, we came across—as we do most times we’re on this hike—ultra-runner Joseph Teh, on his way up the climb for yes, the third time that day.
August 28: A stretch of the Profile Trail on the side of Grandfather Mountain. 3 miles.
We didn’t get too far beyond the stream-side part of this popular trail. The stream section was lush with nettle and the woods with rhododendron.