We divided into two go-straight-home cars and one stop-at-the-brewery car. The latter was dubbed “the beer car,” eliciting the observation from Eric that the club really had changed since his departure 2 years ago.
We met Ken & Marie Moss at Reed’s Gap, bringing the number of hikers to 15. We set out on the Appalachian Trail, and a long uphill section early on served as an effective warm-up.
The route afforded some nice views. The overlook where we stopped for lunch offered spectacular views of the Tye River Valley and the Priest, though we had to contend with some wind. To make up for the wind, hike leader John Shannon passed around our favorite Breadworks treat (pumpkin bread), and Bill Holman shared chocolate.
After lunch, some hikers headed back (Susanna, Ken & Marie, Bill, Don Davis, Sue Tansey, Brian Muszynski) while some headed toward the summit, another 0.6 mile further (both Johns, Dave Borszich, Marian Styles, Dan Funkhauser, Joanne & Maynard Davis). Eric walked partway to the summit, and John Brandt made it to the summit then ran back fast enough to catch the beer car before its departure. We heard that Iva Gillet, who had been up at Crabtree Falls, joined the members of the beer car for a stop at Devil’s Backbone Brewery.
Hikers who went straight back from our lunch overlook covered about 8 miles, and hikers who went to the summit covered about 9.5 miles. The summit afforded a wind-free viewpoint, which was especially nice.
The non-refreshment-stopping cars pulled into the Albemarle High parking lot at a respectable 4:30 p.m., and we found that returning via Route 151 takes about the same time as the Blue Ridge Parkway-I64 route.