June 7: Appalachian Trail from U.S. 220 north to Va. 779 to Flying Mouse Brewery, back to AT to U.S. 11 and then back to 220. 5.5 miles.
This odd walk starts out within the noise of 220 traffic, and about the time that fades, you get near the noise of the I-81 traffic. The good news is that just before you reach 81, you can also turn left onto Va. 779 (instead of right, which takes you under 81 on the AT), and within a half mile you are at the driveway into Flying Mouse Brewery, which on this day was our less-than-halfway stop to snag a growler of their good dark #8 to tote along in the ice to lunch at the fancy kiosk at 11. Two different things since our last visit to Flying Mouse: There's no longer a sign for the brewery as you come to 779, and they no longer have the beer pouches, as a growler is made out of, you know, glass. Not too heavy for the few tenths we did to the lunch spot, but cumbersome at best for somebody who might want to carry along a bit of brew for the next day too.
June 13: Appalachian Trail from Va. 42 south to Kelly Knob and back. 6.6 miles.
We spent the morning in Christiansburg at grandson Aden's baseball tournament and then took the scene route back, with the stop built in at 42. The climb to Kelly Knob is a long and demanding a 3.3 as we walk, and on this day we crossed close to two dozen thru-hikers, many of whom talked about the "little bubble" of thruers along the section. One measure: The Laurel Creek Shelter was silent as we passed it going up, and full of noisy voices as we came back down.
June 20: Home to downtown Roanoke and back. 6 miles.
Our ostensible destination was the Burger Fest in Wells Fargo Plaza, but given the heat, the $5 admission (wait, you gotta pay to get in to pay for a burger and a beer, when nothing is within the grounds of the event but, uh, burgers and beer?), and the lure of what must be our favorite for brunch, we sauntered into Billy's Restaurant and enjoyed not only the good brunch but also pretty good spectator seats for the Burger Fest.
June 21: Iron Ore Trail section and Roaring Run Trail out and back. 3 miles.
We arrived ahead of the family part of this family excursion to the Roaring Run Recreational Area in time to walk up the Iron Ore Trail for a mile--first time we've ever been on that trail--and arrive back at the parking lot area at exactly the time of arrival of sons Eric and Carl, along with Carl's wife Jen and grandkids Aden, Matthew, Lily, Grayson and Ava, all of who except 2-year-old Ava walked up the trail to the slide and pool near the top of the Roaring Run Trail, where The Greatest Day Hiker Of Them All proved once again that she is also The Worriedest Grandmom of All too, as with each person's first slide she fretted and took deep breaths of "I wish they just wouldn't do that." All survived slides and lunch was built around honey sammiches and berry blues.
June 27: Star, Woodthrush, Ridgeline, Star trails loop on Mill Mountain. 4.5 miles.
This easy walk was highlighted by our eating lunch at the picnic table at the lower overlook on the top of Mill Mountain, with good views down onto the valley and a few visits from other overlookers.