The Devil's Marbleyard
The rocks of the Devil's Marbleyard are about 2 million years old; the hiker is slightly less ancient.
Belfast Trail to Appalachian Trail, north on AT to James River overlook and back. 6.6 miles
With a foggy day still threatening to release rain, we decided to try the often-full tiny lot at the base of the Belfast Trail again, after finding it full the previous week.
We slid on into the last spot of the six or so and started up toward the Devil's Marbleyard under cool cloudy skies, with The Day Hiker taking off like the proverbial bat and leaving me behind, especially as we entered the steep section by the marbleyard, where the first hints of fog began to appear.
On up the mountain beyond the giant rock pile, the fog continued to deepen we crested Gunter Ridge, a climb of about 1,600 feet from the Belfast Trail starting elevation. So our planned lunch spot – the same view of the James River we had the previous week – began to look a little gray.
And so it was, with visibility maybe a quarter mile as we sat down in air so full of moisture it gave up the occasional drop. No views of the river, but a good lunch with the prospect of nothing but either flat or down for the return walk.
We paused at the big rocks of the star formation of this hike, again edging out of the fog and into warmer weather as we got there.
How to get there: I-81 to Exit 175; U.S 11 to Va. 130 to Va. 759 and then Va. 781 to small parking area at Belfast Trail.