Saturday was National Trails Day which we honored by hiking up one trail and cleaning up trash on another. Joining hike leader Michael Seth were: Ron Stoltzfus, David Crowe, C.J. Woodburn, Debra Fisher, Barbara Martin, Susanna Williams, John Brandt, Marian Styles, Iva Gillet and Remi the Best Hiking Dog. Meeting at Swift Run Gap at 9:30 we drove to Catherine Furnace where David, C.J. and Barbara were patiently waiting for us. We took turns missing the unmarked forest road that led to it. At Furnace Mountain the crew hiked the four-mile, purple-blazed Roaring Run Trail to the top of Big Mountain -which is not that big; only 1600 feet climb just enough to get some exercise. It was a new hike for everyone except the hike leader. At the top we had lunch with sunny weather and in the upper 70s; there was a nice breeze and no one seemed in a hurry to get up and resume hiking.
When we finally did, we had a short descent to the Massanutten Trail. Although officially a PATC maintained trail, the Massanutten Trail at this point simply utilizes the Big Mountain forest road for nearly three miles. This is where we got out our trash bags and started cleaning up. And there was a lot of trash to pick up, especially beer bottles with Bud Light being the beverage of choice. Strangely a number of the bottles were filled and unopened. One of our crew had to be dissuaded from taking them home-"the beer inside will be fine" he argued. The prize find was a toy rifle that CJ found. She looked like the chain gang warden with her whistle and BB gun. We filled eight or nine bags leaving them along the side of the road as we went. Later Barbara and Ron drove back and picked the bags up.
At Pitt Springs where the Massanutten Trail leaves the road we stopped our clean up and headed down a scenic section of the road that follows a cascading stream. Debra and Remi were the only ones to take advantage of the many clear pools to soak in. Including all the road walk, but not the back and forth picking up trash, we hiked a little over 9 miles and were at our cars by 4:00. The non-trash bag pick up car went to the Dairy Queen in Elkton where we enjoyed frozen treats. Happy Trails!