Kurt's Hikes: Sept. 8, 2013
Kurt, Gail, Cookie and a lot of other beings on McAfee Knob, September 9, 2013.
Here's how to pretend you're a fast hiker: Pick a hot day and a lethargic dog and listen as The Greatest Day Hiker Of Them All exudes a sort of puzzled sympathy toward Cookie, which takes the form of hanging back with the dog as you walk ahead and feel like you're pretty fast.
Which of course you're not, since on this day when I did lead nearly the entire 3.9 miles up the mountain to McAfee Knob, it took us a full half hour longer than it usually does – when The Day Hiker gets to pick the pace and I get to struggle to keep up.
We did still pass a lot of people on the way up, and only a few passed us.
At the top, we picked a lunch spot out on the formation under a big cloud. Cookie ate some and then retreated to the shade just behind us when the sun came back out. People--some we'd seen on the way up--stopped to pet her and act like she was all old or something.
We had a good lunch – camembert! chardonnay! chocolate!--with people all around.
Cookie was not much faster on the way down. You could hear The Day Hiker back there as we crossed people headed up saying, "She's friendly. And she's tired."
At home, the dog was none the worse for the effort.
Appalachian Trail to McAfee Knob and back (FR on the way down) 7.8 miles
How to get there: Va. 311 west from Salem to parking where the road crests Catawba Mountain.