Gail Rheinheimer and friend Beth
Gail and Beth on a beautiful breezy day on Tinker Cliffs.
Andy Lane Trail to Appalachian Trail to Tinker Cliffs and back. 7.8 miles.
For the best hiking day since the springtime – with temps around 70, a clear blue sky and a nice breeze – we set out on one of the best walks anywhere around here with a friend who'd not been to Tinker Cliffs since soon after she moved here to Roanoke more than 20 years ago.
The destination formation certainly hasn't changed since then; it's still a great place to walk out onto, to feel the breeze and to look westward into West Virginia. The Andy Lane Trail itself has been altered since Beth walked it last, to run a little longer and a little less steep.
We had a little different focus on the way up for each of the Andy Lane's three sections. Along the flat first mile, we looked for the osage oranges from the trees that grow along Catawba Creek, and didn't see many. For the several steep sections in the second mile, we did some steep climbing. And for the switchbacks section, we battled with wacky dog Cookie to drop the two turtles she found and was determined to carry around in her mouth.
At Tinker Cliffs, we spread out a good, bountiful lunch in a cool breeze strong enough to have the ladies put on sleeves.
On the start of the way back down, we paused on the east side of the mountaintop to look for Roanoke; it was still hidden behind the leaves.
Back down on the flat section along the creek we paused a little longer – long enough to realize that yes, there were osage oranges on the trees and on the ground. The ladies picked up a few each, for their pretty green color and, at least in The Day Hiker's case, for their iron-lock protection against spiders.
Hike: September 12, 2010
How to get there: Va. 311 to 779 in Catawba or U.S. 220 to 779 in Daleville; then about 8 miles from either point to the small, unmarked parking lot at the base of the Andy Lane Trail.