reported by Iva Gillet
After moving this hike up one day in advance of the 100% rain forecast for Saturday, eleven intrepid hikers met at Swift Run Gap entrance station the day after Thanksgiving for the planned short hike up Hawksbill for sunset and full moon rise. However, upon arrival Park personnel announced a 6 PM closing of the Central section, with the South section closed already for more than a week following the ice storm. Based on having to park at the entrance, we decided to hike the AT north to the South River overlook, where we hoped to see the moonrise. The brave souls who joined for the adventure were: Paul Henderson, Sunny Choi, Marian Styles, Geoff Manning-Smith, Brain Muszynski, CJ Woodburn, David Crowe, Nancy Handley, Mark Perschel, and his visiting thru biker, Susannah Brumer. She was derailed from her cross country bike ride when the recent ice storm closed the Blue Ridge Parkway.We hiked the AT north for 3 ½ miles, clearing downed tree limbs as we went. Many folks had never hiked this section and other than a few downed limbs, it was in great shape. We assembled at the South River Falls overlook with Brian serving hot chocolate and chai tea, Sunny sharing her hot water, and the hike leader sharing several chocolate treats including milk and dark chocolate buckeyes from Yoder’s. We enjoyed our dinner and snacks all the while waiting for the moon rise as clouds had formed. After about ½ hour in the 27 degree temperature, we retreated, this time returning in the dark along the closed Skyline Drive. It was lovely and we could see the lights of the houses toward Elkton below us. For the 3rd year in a row, I led a moonrise hike with no moon, but we enjoyed stories of Thanksgiving meals and hiking with our friends. NEXT time, Full Moon!