Turk Branch Loop and Turk Mountain- November 2, 2013

Leon, Bayly, Brad,Kelly, Jeanne, Marit, Pete and Bev at the start of the hike
 Nine hikers and one dog made it up to Shenandoah National Park to enjoy a beautiful autumn day and trek the Turk Branch circuit and out and back summit to Turk Mountain.  The group included Jeanne Densmore, Kelly O'Rourke, Bev & Pete Fink, Brad Young, Leon Gorman & Bayly, John Brandt, and leaders, Marit Gay & Mark Trail. The 10.4 mile route began at Jarmans Gap, near MP97, as we descended down the South Moormans River Fire Road. Leaves of gold and orange lined  the forest as we crossed feeder streams of the Moormans River multiple times.  At the intersection we stopped for a snack of homemade pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and caramel corn then followed the yellow blazed Turk Branch Trail upward 2.6 miles with a 1200' elevation gain. When we reached the Turk Gap parking area we crossed the Skyline Drive and then veered right to take the 1.1 mile, 1200' climb up the Turk Mountain Trail to the summit for our lunch break.
Brad, Jeanne, Bev, Pete, John, and Kelly taking some nourishment
Shenandoah Valley vista from the top
After our meal we descended back to meet the Appalachian Trail going south stopping at the Sawmill Run Overlook for more views of the fall colors.  Bucks Elbow and Middle Mountain could be seen to the east as we continued back to the Jarmans Gap parking lot.  Glimpses of Calf Mountain and Humpback Mountain were also visible.  Warm temperatures and sunny skies made us appreciate the day so much.  We know winter is just around the corner!