Seven hikers met hike leader Ken Moss at Albemarle High School on what turned out to be a cool, but not cold, day with clear skies. Pat Skelly made his second hike with us, while regulars Rita Kieffer, Dan Funkhouser, Marian Styles, John Shannon, Perte Fink and Marie Moss also attended. We were soon on the road in two cars heading toward George Washington National Forest's Sherando Lake Recreation Area in the Pedlar Ranger District jsut south of Waynesboro.
Surprised to find the main gate to the Recreation Area still open, we drove to the base of the Upper Lake before disembarking from the cars to begin our hike up the White Rock Gap Trail. It was a bit breezy as we started the hike, but by the time we got into the woodline things calmed down for the rest of the day. After a steady, moderate climb we reached a junction with the Slacks Trail, which we took for the steepest part of the day's climb...though this section didn't feel nearly as tough as it had been in the heat of the summer (see Torry Ridge and Sherando Lake - July 30, 2011).
Upon reaching the junction with the Torry Ridge Trail we stopped for lunch, where teveryone enjoyed John's famous pumpkin bread. Afterward we started the return northward toward Sherando Lake along the crest of Torry Ridge, with views thanks to the bare branches of late Autumn.
We then headed down the Blue Loop Trail, pausing for a rest and to admire the views of the lake from a rocky overlook. After a steep descent, we circled back on the Lakeside trail to the picnic area before wrapping things up with a walk through the campground to reach our cars. A majority of the participants chose to seek food and refreshments on the return drive with a stop by Blue Mountain Brewery...a perfect ending to a perfect day!