submitted by Jeff Monroe
A combined group of the RATC and PATC-Charlottesville Chapter met at the Goshen WMA parking lot to explore some of the trails few people see – south of Rt. 39 in the Goshen Wildlife Management area. Jeff Monroe brought a crew from the north, including Jim Fye (who turned back early due to a foot issue), Ann Hays and John Brandt. RATC Hikers included Josiah Leonard, Jenny Steding, Wilma Vargas, co-lead Dave Horst, and co-lead Jeff Monroe.
The route took hikers over the summit of Forge Mountain to a fantastic overlook, then past a powerline cut and over Cooper’s Knob to a dirt road that was once the access road to a fire tower on the summit of Big Butt Mountain that no longer exists. The group followed the road to the 3451 foot high Big Butt Mountain summit at 5.9 miles.
On the way back, the group followed a trail none of them had ever hiked, which turned out to basically be an occasionally blazed bushwhack. They followed a steep slope down under the powerlines, then a brutal climb back up to Forge Mountain. From there, they retraced their steps to the parking area for a hike that totaled 12.8 miles with 4075 feet elevation gain.
Hike route details: http://www.wanderingvirginia.com/2019/03/forge-mountain-trail-goshen-wma.html