Flat Top Mountain Loop - November 30, 2013

Reported by Dan Ralston

It was a beautiful day for a hike with Hike Leader Dan Ralston!  Due to the closure of Skyline Drive because of snow and ice we decided to do the Flat Top Mountain Loop and it turned out to be a perfect hike.  We had crisp winter weather, a slight breeze, the sun peeking out between the light clouds and snow covering the ground beside the trek.  We were be able to enjoy the expansive panoramic views of the mountains; of both the Piedmont and the SNP.

We had PATCers popping up from everywhere to join the hike.  We started at AHS with Jeanne Densmore, Wanda Hamilton, Kelly O’Rourke, Kelly Guelli and Anne Colgate.  We made our way to the little country church to park and when we got there Dave Borszich drove up to join the group.  The hike was uphill from the church but the beautiful weather, the woodland farms and the feeling of a wonderful day’s hike ahead set the pace.  Kelly O’Rourke and Jeanne lead the charge up the mountain.

Once at the top we settled in on the sun heated rock outcroppings for a well-deserved lunch and a wonderful view.  Low and behold John Brandt and Clai Lange hiked in to join us.  So our original group of 6 was now a happy group of 9.

We stopped by a newly reconstructed log cabin and met one of the colorful locals hanging out with his Scottie dog whose name we had to guess.  Kelly Guelli guessed it right off!  However this blog being family oriented we won’t print the pooch’s name here.  But the dog did come to the name so we guessed it was for real.  We finished the hike laughing at the day’s events.

One the way back to Charlottesville we stopped at the Moss Vineyard in Nortonville for a tasting and then headed back to AHS.  A perfect hike with a perfect group of people in the winter forests of the Virginia Piedmont.

Humpback Rocks - November 23, 2013

Reported by Ken Moss

View toward Wintergreen.
This hike offered access to a classic regional destination, but from a different direction than most people take. Rather than hiking up the steep climb from Humpack Gap Parking, we drove further south along the Blue Ridge Parkway to begin our hike at the Humpback Rocks Picnic Area.

We followed a short side trail from the picnic area which connected us to the Appalachian Trail, which we then followed northward. Though there were still some decent grades along this section, they were generally short and didn't pose much of a challenge... and certainly less tedious than the slog up the trail most people use.

After a short stop to admire the view from near the summit of Humpback Mountain, Hike Leader Ken Moss cleverly led the group the wrong way on the trail for a few minutes, just to see if they were paying attention... happily they passed this test and we soon resumed our our hike in the correct direction toward The Rocks.

Once at Humpback Rocks we admired the views and also had a treat, witnessing a marriage proposal by a young couple, with our own Maynard Davis acting as the impromptu official photographer. The hike back to the cars was uneventful.

The entire group, including Wanda Hamlin, Joanne and Maynard Davis, Leon Gorman, Kelly O'Rourke and Dave Borszich, stopped by Blue Mountain Brewery on the drive back for a bite to eat.

Lewis Peak - November 9, 2013

Reported by Ken Moss

This turned out to be a perfect day for a hike on a trail with wonderful views. Eleven hikers met Hike Leader Ken Moss at Albemarle High School and the subsequent drive to the trail head at Browns Gap.

The temperature was perfect with calm winds and clear skies. Hiking along what was often a ridgetop trail with easy grades offered wonderful views toward the Valley. The lunch stop was ideal and everyone enjoyed good conversation while munching on their victuals while admiring the view.

The hike back was equally easy. Following the hike, most of the group gathered at Timberwood Grill for apr├Ęs hike munchies. Participating in the hike were Wanda Hamlin, Dan Ralston, Bev and Pete Fink, Barbara Schenefield, Brad Young, Kelly O'Rourke, Anna Castle, Dianne Anderson, Jeanne Densmore and CJ Woodburn.