1st Day Hike New Year Challenge: Douthat State Park - January 1, 2019

submitted by Jeff Monroe

A small crew of PATC hikers determined to start the New Year off right with a hike got together to explore trails in Douthat State Park.  Virginia State Parks were sponsoring a "1st Day Hike New Year Challenge" and parking in all state parks that day was free. The group hiked in the eastern portion of the park and despite the “Challenge,” only saw two other hikers on the trails that day.  The group hiked 7 miles that had them passing over mountains and next to the lake, through a sandy beach and past picnic areas and playgrounds. Douthat is a wonderful place to hike!

Twas the Day after the Solstice Hike, Braley Pond/Bald Ridge Trail Hike - December 22, 2018

submitted by Barbara Martin

The seven intrepid hikers Andre Meyer, Steve James, Susan Quinn, Claire Cline, Nancy Hanley, Marion Styles and Paul Henderson joined hike leader Barbara Martin for a jaunt into the Ramseys Draft Wilderness Area by way of Braley Pond and the Bald Ridge Trail. We started our hike skirting Braley Pond and heading out on a fire road.  Barbara was happily chatting away to Clair and missed the turn off to Bald Ridge Trail. Only a 1/2 mile was lost! We returned and turned on the trail and began climbing slowly to Bald Ridge. The trail here is quite lovely - covered with pine needles with lichen and moss making it very pretty. As we climbed the skies became grey and we saw snowflakes in the air.  We reached the top of the ridge and made a right onto Bald Ridge Trail. After 1/4 mile or so we were treated to a wonderful lunch spot, complete with a fire circle, logs to sit on and an outstanding view. We came back down the way we came with time to visit and enjoy the views again. A great time with a great group of hikers.


Crozet Trails: Linkinghole Basin and Soup Party - January 5, 2019

Linkinghole Basin

It was muddy, but the rain had stopped and 15 hikers ventured out on January 5 to meet up and traipse on the Crozet Greenways.  We began at the Western Ridge subdivision club house and followed along the woods to Lickinghole Basin to enjoy the waterfront and many geese resting there.  Marit Anderson was the hike leader and Mark Perschel assisted as sweep.  Marit showed the group the eagle's nest but no eagle were present this day, nor the blue heron that is often seen along the waterway. We continued beside Linkinghole Creek using the Crozet Connector Trail. We followed the detour into Westhall Subdivision briefly, as the Connector Trail is having a walking tunnel installed where the future road will be built towards Rt. 240. We then converged below the dog park at Claudius Crozet Park.  A short break and chocolate were shared.  We backtracked our route and ended up with 6 miles under our belt and a hefty appetite.  That was well timed, because all the hikers proceeded to the home of Marit Anderson and Mark Perschel in Old Trail for soup, adult beverages, crackers and cheese assortment, and desserts.  It was fun to share the time together and meet some new hikers to the PATC group, as well as see old friends. The day also turned sunny and warm, so all were glad to get outdoors. The participants included Nancy Kern, Joan Gilrain, Karen and John Ballen, Margaret Helber, Brooks Fulton, Dennis Templeton, Katharine Maus, David Crowe, CJ Woodburn, Iva Gillet, Marian Styles, and Nancy Handley. A special congratulations on the retirement of Marian Styles and John Shannon (not present)!

Soup party at Marit and Marks' house in Old Trail

We were all a muddy mess after the hike, but no one complained - a testament to this great gang of hikers!

submitted by Marit Anderson


(Where was the) Full Moon Hike - November 23, 2018

reported by Iva Gillet
After moving this hike up one day in advance of the 100% rain forecast for Saturday, eleven intrepid hikers met at Swift Run Gap entrance station the day after Thanksgiving for the planned short hike up Hawksbill for sunset and full moon rise. However, upon arrival Park personnel announced a 6 PM closing of the Central section, with the South section closed already for more than a week following the ice storm. Based on having to park at the entrance, we decided to hike the AT north to the South River overlook, where we hoped to see the moonrise. The brave souls who joined for the adventure were: Paul Henderson, Sunny Choi, Marian Styles, Geoff Manning-Smith, Brain Muszynski, CJ Woodburn, David Crowe, Nancy Handley, Mark Perschel, and his visiting thru biker, Susannah Brumer. She was derailed from her cross country bike ride when the recent ice storm closed the Blue Ridge Parkway.
We hiked the AT north for 3 ½ miles, clearing downed tree limbs as we went. Many folks had never hiked this section and other than a few downed limbs, it was in great shape.  We assembled at the South River Falls overlook with Brian serving hot chocolate and chai tea, Sunny sharing her hot water, and the hike leader sharing several chocolate treats including milk and dark chocolate buckeyes from Yoder’s. We enjoyed our dinner and snacks all the while waiting for the moon rise as clouds had formed. After about ½ hour in the 27 degree temperature, we retreated, this time returning in the dark along the closed Skyline Drive. It was lovely and we could see the lights of the houses toward Elkton below us. For the 3rd year in a row, I led a moonrise hike with no moon, but we enjoyed stories of Thanksgiving meals and hiking with our friends. NEXT time, Full Moon!


Trail Building with Cadillac Crew at Mutton Hollow- Sept. 22/23, Nov.10/11, Dec. 8/9

Members of the Charlottesville PATC joined forces with the mighty Cadillac Crew on three trail building weekends this fall - September 22/23, November 10/11, and December 8/9  It is always amazing to work with this crew because they are so knowledgeable, hard working, and fun.  Most of the Cadillac Crew live in the D.C. area, but many volunteers came from other places to be a part of the trail building experience.  Many are hikers and want to give back....building trails for future hikers, so thank you to the Cadillac Crew for putting us to good work! Volunteers from Charlottesville PATC included Bill Holman who spearheaded the project since he is District Manager of Mutton Hollow, Mark Walkup (trail builder extraordinaire), Paul Henderson, Amy and Evan Reed, Mark Perschel, and Marit Anderson.  The project was begun last spring with first laying down flags for the route and continued this fall with building the trail from the ground up.  It is demanding work clearing the ground cover, leveling the earth, sloping for drainage, clearing rocks, creating rock stairways, and more.  Much of the trail has been made and future projects in the spring will hopefully complete the new Mutton Hollow Trail Loop, which will make a nice hiking path for those staying at the PATC Vining Cabin or nearby Vining Tract area.  Many thanks to all the Cadillac Crew, especially Robert Fina, Martha Becton, and Kirsten Elowsky who led the team.  Steve Barber and family nearby opened up their beautiful home and grounds for the Cadillac Crew and volunteers to stay for the weekends, which was also much appreciated. We look forward to continued progress on this trail - come join the crew in the spring.

Last part of the day is cleaning all the tools

Cadillac Crew got to experience some of that Nov. 9 snowstorm

The Vining Cabin
submitted by Marit Anderson; photos by Marit and Kirsten Elowsky