Old AT- New AT from Three Ridges Overlook - Saturday, December 28, 2019

Group gathered at Wintergreen sign - Old Appalachian Trail

 December 28, sunny skies, no wind, and 58 degree weather.  Great day for a hike and that is what we did! A group of 10 hikers gathered at Three Ridges Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway to start an 8.5 mile hike. The leaders were Marit Anderson and Mark Perschel, joined by the participants: Patrick Cory, Jana Walters, Marian Styles, Marie Moss, John Brandt, Nancy Handley, Anna Castle, and David Consolvo. We bushwhacked from the parkway through the forest heading north for about half a mile looking for Old Appalachian Trail blazes and found a few.  Everyone got a good work out and plenty of hitch-hikers on their clothing.  Finally we arrived to Wintergreen Resort property at Cedar Drive. We continued by following the red blazes, which was the Old Appalachian Trail (and also part of the Perimeter Trail of Wintergreen Nature Foundation trails).  The trek had lots of ups and downs, rocky sections, and also many beautiful views. We stopped to admire many, including the Sherando Lake area and west to the Shenandoah Valley and Allegheny Mountains.  The trail meandered behind people's homes and then along the Shamokin Springs Nature Preserve.  We then exited the Wintergreen area and crossed the parkway at Dripping Rock....hungry and ready for lunch, which we ate at the lovely Cedar Cliffs. We were lucky to have the place to ourselves.  After lunch we hiked four more miles along the current Appalachian Trail to return to the cars at Three Ridges Overlook. Everyone was suitably tired and happy with the day of outdoor fun, so we said our good-byes to each other and to the exiting year of 2019. Welcome 2020!

 submitted by Marit Anderson, photos by Marit Anderson and Mark Perschel


December 21, 2019 Furnace Mountain, Black Rock Hike
Barbara Martin led 9 other hikers, Dave Eidtman, Mike Hammer, Jocelyn Prostko, Nancy Handley, Anna Castle, John Brandt, Marie Moss, Karen Ballen and Barbara Wilson on a Winter Solstice hike up to Black Rocks from Madison Run Road. On the way back we spied a young possum in a tree, which evoked a lot of oohs and ahs and how cute! Gorgeous views were the order of the day along with sharp changes in temperature. Towards the top the wind picked up and our lunch break at Black Rock was a short one. On the way back down the wind calmed and we enjoyed pleasant winter temps. A very jolly group of hikers!  Thank you Jocelyn for some great photos.


St. Mary's Wilderness Stewardship Day: Dec 1, 2019

For a day that started out cold and wet, the PATC's Charlottesville Chapter did pretty well rounding up trail workers to head out to St. Mary's Wilderness and work deep into the wilderness reclaiming the Cellar Mtn Trail.  The PATC worked with the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) and Wild Virginia to reclaim the Cellar Mountain Trail, which was lost to years of unchecked vegetation growth.  PATC participants included John Brandt, John Shannon, Marit Anderson, Mark Perschel, and Jeff Monroe.  The group continued trail work that had been undertaken previously, and progressed to the end of the trail!  It isn’t yet perfect, but it is much more open than it was before the effort started.  PATC-Charlottesville hopes to have a group hike out here in the Spring of 2020.


Mutton Hollow District Trail Work and Hike -November 17, 2019

Eleven volunteers came out on chilly Sunday, November 17 to do trail work at PATC Mutton Hollow District in Greene County.  Bill Holman (Mutton Hollow District Manager), Iva Gillet, and Marit Anderson helped to coordinate the day and the mighty participants included Dave Borszich, Jeanne Siler, John Shannon, Marian Styles, Brian Muszynski, John Brandt, Mark Walkup, and Mark Perschel. The plan for the day was to hike/inspect as many of the 10 miles of trails as possible, while taking care of blowdowns and debris along the way.  It ended up being a very busy day because of all the blowdowns, most likely due to the big storm on the recent Halloween night.  The groups were broken down into 4 teams.  Bill Holman and Mark Walkup with chainsaw duties on the northern trails.  Mark Perschel and John Shannon also using chainsaws on the southern trails.  Iva was the lead for Jeanne, Dave, and Marian inspecting and clearing Boxwood, Wineberry, Conley and Conley Morris Trails.  Marit worked with Brian and John Brandt to hike and clear Boundary East and Boundary West, Mutton Top, Cliff and Conley Morris Trails.  The teams worked from 10 am -2:30 pm straight to get as much work done as possible.  Then lunch and some refreshments provided by the leaders were enjoyed by all at Butternut Cabin (overseer cabin).  All were tired, cold, with wet feet, but happy with the work completed at 3:30 pm when carpools set for Charlottesville and beyond.  There is still much to be done, so another work day may be in the planning in the new year.  In the meantime, a heartfelt thank you to all of the volunteers for the day!

Submitted by Marit Anderson with photos by Iva Gillet, Jeanne Siler, and Marit Anderson


SNP AT Hike #4: November 17, 2019

Despite cool November temps, a large crowd of experienced hikers hit the trail on Saturday, November 17th to continue the journey on the Appalachian Trail through Shenandoah National Park.  This section started at Blackrock parking, continued north through Loft Mountain Campground, and ended at the Ivy Creek Overlook. 

The group lunched at the Loft Mountain Amphitheater, which featured great mountain views, and it was announced that the 2019 recipient of the Chapter's sole Hawksbill Award would be Iva Gillet.  Since the presentation would be on a Wednesday evening up in Vienna, there was nobody scheduled to be present at the award event.

After lunch, the group cut through the Loft Mountain area to find the other end of the AT as it looped around the campground.  We passed though a closed picnic area which had kind of an eerie feeling.

Closed area of the Loft Mtn Campground

In all, it was a 10.3 mile hike with a 2000 foot + ascent.  The group hiked the distance in about 5 1/4 hours.


Beard's Mountain Hike - November 10, 2019

Three hikers braved perfect temps and unknown trail conditions to travel out near Douthat State Park and hike a little used trail in the GWNF.  This hike started out by crossing the scenic Cowpasture River on a 150 foot long swinging bridge. The bridge connected to a trail on the western side of the river that climbed Beards Mountain, which is the eastern boundary of Douthat SP. This was an out-and-back hike up Beards Mountain that did not go as far as the Douthat boundary.  It appears to be an established mountain biking trail, though we saw no other trail users of any kind. The trail was in great shape - must be the mountain bikers! There were several nice views through the trees and one open spit with spectacular views to nearby mountains, including the Rough Mountain Wilderness, Warm Springs Mountain, Tower Hill Mountain, and Shenandoah Mountain.  Joining hike leader Jeff Monroe were Marian Styles and Joanna Myers.  The trio hiked a total of 9.6 miles with a 2550 foot total ascent, over 4 ¾ hours. 

submitted by Jeff Monroe