PDA

View Full Version : Trout Creek to Pearisburg Hike



kolokolo
03-20-2013, 20:41
Hi All. Just finished a fantastic 3 day hike from Trout Creek (VA-620 trail crossing) SB to Pearisburg. I really wanted to get this section done so that I could fill the gap between two previous sections , and I pulled off the 57 mile hike in 3 days.

The first day, I hiked about 21 miles from 620 to the Laurel Creek Shelter. About an hour into the hike, I came to the Audie Murphy Monument. Thatís an awesome place, and I stopped for a moment of quiet reflection

It was a warm, sunny day, and there were a lot of day hikers as the morning went on. When I passed the Niday Shelter at mid-morning, there was another hiker there who looked like he was just packing up to leave, but I didnít stop to talk. When I came to the Keffer Oak in the afternoon, there was pair of surveyors there with a fancy antenna setup. It looked kind of comical, and they said that they were just confirming coordinates of some trail landmarks. I think they were trying to communicate with ET. :)

About 5 minutes after I got to the shelter, I heard thunder, and it rained for about 15 minutes. Soon after, the sun was shining again. I was the only human staying at the Laurel Creek shelter , although Iím pretty sure that I heard some rodents scurrying around during the night. In the morning, there were a number of acorns in each of my hiking boots.

The second day started pretty cold and cloudy, and after about 30 minutes of hiking, it started to rain. I put on the rain jacket and pack cover and kept on going. This day, I had three significant climbs and about 19 miles, so I wanted to keep moving so I wouldnít be rushed. The rain stopped after about an hour.

In the early afternoon, I finished the second big climb and passed Wind Rock. It was pretty foggy, so there was no chance to see anything from there. I soon came to the Salt Sulphur Turnpike, and there I met Bus. Bus is a SB thruhiker who started in Harpers Ferry. He is doing a sort of a flip flop, and is making good progress. He was eating lunch by the road, and we talked for a few minutes. It turned out that we were both planning to stay at the Pine Swamp Branch Shelter that night.

I continued on and passed the sign for the Captainís, and saw his place across the stream, but I was kind of in a hurry so I didnít stop. I arrived at the shelter around 5, and was the only one there until Bus arrived a little before 6. We had our dinners, swapped stories, and retired a little before hiker midnight. The night was cold, and it rained pretty hard on and off.

It must have been a little above freezing in the morning. There was no ice on the ground, and things werenít too muddy. I wanted to finish the 17 mile hike early enough to make the 6 hour drive home, so I was up before it was light. After apologizing to Bus for waking him up with all my packing noise, I hit the trail just before 7. The first mile or so of the hike was a 1000+ foot climb up Peters Mountain in about 2 miles. The air temperature at the top of the Mountain was well below freezing, and there was about a 30 mph wind blowing from the Southeast. In addition, the trees were coated with about 1/8 inch of ice.

It was about 11 trail miles across the ridge to the other end of the mountain, where I would start the descent into Pearisburg. The wind was constant and cold, ice-covered branches drooped across the trail, creating a weird obstacle course to navigate in some places, and chunks of ice blew out of the trees creating mini hailstorms. I only stopped at the Rice Field shelter, where I had lunch. My Snickers bars were frozen solid! Luckily, the shelter faced away from the wind, it provided a good place to stop. I did pass one NB hiker on this stretch, and he said he was glad to see that there were other fools out hiking besides him. I guess he was right.

Once I started the descent about a mile after Rice Field, things started to warm up. I did have to be careful negotiating some of the rocks on the way down, as they were coated with ice. I made it to my car on Clendennin Road around 2:30, and within a few minutes it was raining. I had managed to stay mostly dry during my hike, and was glad I finished before the rain.

Overall, a rushed but very enjoyable hike. I arrived back home in Ohio that night happy that I had accomplished what I set out to do.

By the way, I canít say enough good things about Don Raines, who shuttled me from my endpoint at Clendennin Rd to Trout Creek to start my journey. He arrived on time, was polite and personable, and went out of his way to get me going. I realized when he picked me up that I had left my hat and hiking poles in the motel room, which I had locked when I left. The office didnít open until much later in the morning.. Don stopped at Walmart on our way through town and I picked up some replacement equipment. He also went to the motel later that day and retrieved my gear, and took it to my car. It was there when I finshed my hike. Thanks, Don!

Stalking Tortoise
03-21-2013, 06:57
I did the same section NOBO last week from 3/9 to 3/13. How did you like the rhododendron blowdowns after Pine Swamp Branch Shelter?

And have the same good words for Don Raines. He shuttled me and my buddy from VA 624 down to Pearisburg, then from Pearisburg down to VA Route 606 for the 2nd part of our hike. Prompt, knowledgeable and friendly.

HikerMom58
03-21-2013, 07:06
So glad y'all had a great time! Stalking Tortoise and UHFox thanks for sharing!! :)

Praha4
03-21-2013, 11:33
great trip report, thanks for sharing! I'll be getting up that way around April 4th to start an Atkins VA - Harpers Ferry nobo section hike, can't wait to get started. I've always heard good reports on Don Raines as a shuttle driver.