Pretty day, pretty sign, pretty girl.
If it's a beautiful, tease-of-spring day, it's an especially beautiful tease-of-spring day on the Great Trail, and even more especially with The Greatest Day Hiker.
Though we're always re-disappointed after this long and gentle climb that there's not really a good viewpoint after you finally earn the ridge line of Sinking Creek Mountain. Yes, the AT beckons further along the ridge to the south and the blue-blazed Old Hall Road trail heads off to the right, and we've explored a short distance in both directions in the past, without finding a great lunch spot (though, reading two days after hike instead of during it as I should have, it says here there is one, a little farther along the AT).
Still, on a warm fallen tree above a rock just above the trail, the sun was strong and the food was good. And through the winter trees were views of the Craig Creek Valley and Cove Mountain beyond.
The other cool thing as you crest Sinking Creek is the big ol' Eastern Continental Divide sign. We didn't contemplate, though maybe we should have, whether to dump our lunch-cooling ice so that it melted toward the Mississippi or toward the Atlantic. I guess we should contribute to our own dry East rather than sending the moisture west.
We saw no one hiking either way, though on the way up we waved to a guy near Niday Shelter who appeared to have a big and full pack; we didn't see him again and so he must have been headed north… the season's first thru-hiker?
How to get there: From Salem, out Va. 311 to a left onto Va. 621 to the small parking area on the right where the AT crosses 621.
Hike: February 19, 2011
Appalachian Trail from Va. 621 south to crest of Sinking Creek Mountain and back. 7.4 miles.