submitted by Iva Gillet
Only the hardy hikers showed up on this blustery winter day. While the seven mile distance was moderate, the morning was cold but sunny. Only Marie Moss met Hike Leader Bill Holman at AHS, but we added David Crowe, CJ Woodburn, Nancy Handley, Dennis Templeton, and the other hike leader Iva Gillet (with Remi) at King’s Popcorn stand on Afton. We arranged ourselves into two cars and headed north meeting Kerem Coser and his co-worker Zach Bethune at the trailhead. Once introductions were made, we headed off at a brisk clip, with Remi leading the way. The AT and side trail to Blackrock parallel here, so there were options as we ascended to the summit. The view was spectacular, but so was the wind. Zach climbed on the rocks briefly and then we descended along the Trayfoot Trail, dropping us mostly out of the wind. Bright blue skies shone as we hiked to the intersection with the Furnace Mtn Trail. CJ lead us, as we descended down, over rocks, and then through the woods with ridge line views in both directions. But wait! What do we see ahead, another hiker and it was Gabriel Garretson! He had hiked up the Madison Run fire road to join us.
We convened at Furnace Mtn summit trail and then Kerem and Zach sprinted to the top. We passed a wonderful camping spot on the summit before descending to a rock large enough for us all to lunch on. Since it was in the shade, we ate quickly, shared lots of chocolate, and then retraced our steps. Gabriel turned back down the mountain while the rest of us hiked back up Trayfoot Mountain. Back to Blackrock summit- it was still windy- so again we didn’t linger and headed back to our cars along the AT. A note on our cars indicated that Clair Cline and Ann Colgate had tried to find us, but were on the windy AT instead. As a final activity for the day, several of us drove into Waynesboro for snacks, beer, and conversation at the Seven Arrows Brewery. Sitting there by the fire, we were pleased to have had a fine hike in the Shenandoah Park on such a beautiful, but cold and windy day!