submitted by Jeff Monroe
This was a PATC/RATC combined hike that never quite combined. The Charlottesville-based group picked up 2 hikers in Charlottesville, 2 more in Afton, and a 5th in Staunton on the way to the Petite’s Gap Road trailhead. With temps that started the day in the teens, the earlier arriving Daleville group wasn’t going to wait long, and they were long gone when the Charlottesville group arrived. There was communication via text between the two groups, and the lead group agreed to wait for the trailing group at the Marble Springs Shelter lunch site, but the RATC hikers found that location too windy and cold to stay long. The Charlottesville Chapter hiked up the Sulphur Springs Trail to the Appalachian Trail in the Wilderness, where they found a warm sunny spot to lunch. And, given the reports from the RATC about the cold nature of the trail ahead, the Charlottesville group voted to hike back down in the sun using that trail they had taken to the lunch spot. Both groups managed to convene after the hike at the nearby Great Valley Farm Brewery in Natural Bridge. Charlottesville Chapter hikers included hike leader Jeff Monroe (3rd consecutive week as Chapter hike leader), Marian Styles, John Brandt, Iva Gillet with Remy the happy hiking dog, and SSVC Chapter members Christa Neher and Jim Fye.