This hike was the last part of my Roanoke adventure with Jessica. I've been wanting to do this hike for a long time, but the combination of it being almost 2 hours away, plus a 4 mile mountain hike each way, made it unfeasible for me to do alone as part of a day trip. But when I signed up for Race 13.1 Roanoke, I decided I would spend two nights in the hotel and do the hike on the way home. The trailhead was only 20-30 minutes away from Roanoke, and right on Rt 311, which is one of the roads that will get me home from Roanoke. (just not one of the fastest ones)
Let's see...I had 1 quart of water, of which I drank about half.
I was wearing Chaco sandals.
We started around 10 AM.
We did stay on the trail the whole time.
I had some pretzels and cashews in my backpack. Ate a little bit at the top of the hike.
No raingear or extra clothing.
Common sense? I always have that. (Might not always use it though.)
There were trails leading out of both sides of the parking lot, and it was not immediately obvious which direction was going to take us where we wanted to go. Finally we just went to one of the trail heads and saw an arrow pointing the other way telling us how far it was to McAfee Knob. Problem solved. We crossed over 311 from the parking lot and started our hike.
It was a good climb, certainly tiring, but I pushed the pace going up because I didn't want to take too long on the climb and then feel rushed to get photos at the top and run back down the mountain. It took us about 1.5 hours to get to the top, and then we spent about an hour up there taking photos, snacking, and enjoying the view before heading back down.
We could not have asked for a more perfectly gorgeous day!
Who needs hiking boots?
Not everyday that you get to look down on the birds. Or be at their level.
The hike back down was not too enjoyable, but we made it. Heat plus tired feet had us dragging, plus going down sandy mountain trails is not exactly pleasant on a good day. The view from the top was worth every bit of pain though!
We stopped at the Swinging Bridge restaurant in Paint Bank for lunch, which I think was roughly halfway between the trail and home. It was crowded because it was Father's Day, so it was a little slow, but the food was good.