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A Complete Appalachian Trail Guidebook.
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Kaptainkriz

Apple Orchard Falls, Guillotine, Thunder Hill Shelter, and "The Guardian Frog"

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This was an outstanding hike. The parking at Sunset Field on the Blue Ridge Parkway is quite large, but also popular. Despite it being foggy, it was very crowded. The hike down to the falls is about 1.3 miles and well worth the descent down ~147 stars near the bottom. The falls are extremely tall and beautiful. You can walk right up to the base of them. There is an upper cascade a couple tenths of a mile before the platform at the end that is also very large and nice to stop at. The Appalachian trail along this section is not difficult and the view surrounding Apple Orchard Mountain up at the FAA Radar Site is excellent. Although we could not see the Radar radome due to fog on day 1, it was super clear on day 2 on the way back and we were able to see it. Not far after the FAA site, just inside the Thunder Ridge Wilderness area in side the Jefferson National Forest is the “Guillotine”. This is a really cool hanging rock formation at AT mile 771.6 and is hard to miss given you walk right under it. Thunder Hill shelter is at AT mile 772.5 and where we spent the night. The privy was nice and the spring is a stone walled box spring with a Leopard Frog that lives in it. The notes in Guthook mention this frog all the way back to 2017, LoL! The test sites right near the shelter are a little lumpy. We did not notice until the next day that there are a lot more tent sites just North on the AT.
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