You can also hike to the summit via a different route ; shorter with less elevation gain so Kate and Tucker did it during Christmas Break. The weather was crisp and clear and quite warm in the 50’s when we were not exposed to the wind on the ridge. Starting this hike at the Meadow Spring Trail head , I figure we shaved off nearly 1000′ of elevation gain than if you start from where Ben and I did in 2010.
With Tucker clearly in the lead we started up the trail which climbed promptly from the start. After about 10 minutes we came to a remnants a stone chimney where we took a short break. I would later learn that the chimney was all that is left from a PATC cabin that burned down in the 1940’s. I find it interesting how open the hollow was in the 1930’s when the picture was taken versus now…shows how our country changes when left alone.
- pausing by the chimney
- The cabin burned down in the 1940’s
After about 20 mins of steady climbing the trail joins the Appalachian trail at the ridge line. The ridge line part of the hike is great, offering some views of simply a good trail to make easy time on. Before we knew it we reached the spur trail to Marys Rock and arrived on top, greeted by a stiff breeze. We scrambled on the rocks and even Tucker found his climbing legs. Kate of course needed to reach the highpoint and made three separate trips to the highpoint to take pictures and find the summit marker. Tuck and I waited about 30 feet shy taking pictures until the cold killed the battery prematurely.
- Kate on the very top!
After a snack for all, we headed back down the trail with Kate and Tucker foraging ahead at a trot…I kept my pace…moderately slow all the way down. near the trail head there were some NPS employees and I asked them why they closed the road at night in the winter and he said to make it harder for the poachers to get up there and illegally poach deer at night… crazy…
- The summit marker…
Since we had burned some calories, Kate and I ate our way home, first stopping for a sandwich at a local snack joint and then for real ice cream at Moo Thru in Remington VA.
- Tired dog on the drive home….
A short ride home with a tired dog was all that was left to a great day to be in the mountains with Kate!
- Our route — nice hike!
Beta: 2.9 Miles RT, Moderate from Meadow Springs Trail Head