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  1. #1

    Default Day Hike Up Chestnut Ridge Natural Area Preserve

    Hello,

    Thank you for letting me be a part of this amazing community.

    The reason that I writing here today is to get advice from the members of this forum about a hike that I will be taking early next month.
    I have been granted about 12 - hours daylight access to hike up Chestnut Ridge Natural Area Preserve in Narrows, Virginia. I was wondering if someone would please give me suggestions as to what I should bring with me up this ridge. I do not have the exact GPS coordinates yet so I do not know what topographical map I should get. The steward says that there are some logging trails as well as no trails at all for me as I scale up this ridge. He says that it will be a tough hike. Will someone please share with me a list items you would take if you were to take this hike? I am thinking topo maps, maybe there is an app for my iphone, back pack, camelback water, electrolytes and food, first aid kit, iphone power supply, pocket knife, machete, insect repellant, socks, rope.

    Are there some things that I am missing?

    Thank you so much for the help.

    Best regards,

    Star Trail

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    04-28-2008
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Age
    62
    Posts
    70

    Default

    I'll get the ball rolling. It like a great place. I have not been there but have hiked extensively off trail. This looks like the correct spot.

    https://www.southwesttimes.com/wp-co...01-06-2021.jpg

    Now go to google maps

    https://www.google.com/maps/@37.2809.../data=!5m1!1e4

    There is a toggle to show the terrain/satellite views. The primary area appear to be the Wolf creek side of the ridge from the ridge top to half way down.

    One site say 233 acres as opposed another site says several hundred acres. The exact boundaries are important. Are they marked or is it fenced. Where is your legal access point? From one site it doesn't look like you have direct access to the property. You say scale the ridge which leads me to believe you are climbing up from hwy 61 (wolf creek hwy) but it might also be 613 (dry fork road)?

    If you are looking for old logging roads, the USGS site has all versions of their maps online. Older versions have roads... that may not show on the current version. Once I found great easier and other it was difficult. IMHO the site(s) can be difficult to navigate. The USGS map or the maps from an app are better.

    Up front without doubt you do NOT need a machete. You will be bushwacking as opposed to trail building. It is a special area where this is not allowed. There may be rhododendron thickets which should be avoided if at possible. Even when to try to avoid you may still get stuck in them. These take time to get through. Cutting through would only take more time.

    What is you hiking and off trail experience? What is you physical condition/stamina? Have you bushwacked or in a "safe" area?
    Are you bringing a partner? What time of year are you going?

  3. #3

    Default

    Since you have been given permission to enter the preserve, do the owners have a suggested route to follow or are you totally on your own to find a way in?

    If there is no defined trail and since these are old growth forests, there probably won't be much understory and all directions will look the same. If there is no specific destination in mind (like a view vista) once up into the preserve it won't matter which direction you go, just follow the path of least resistance and keep climbing up. The main trick will be getting back to where you started. That takes recording a GPS route and marking way points as you go or being very skilled with map and compass and a very good sense of direction. It is unlikely you will have any visual references to help fix location with.

    For gear, just the basics - some food, water, rain jacket and of course your navigation aids. I typically don't bother with a pocket knife since I don't generally carry food which needs to be sliced or diced on a day hike. A PB+J sandwich and some cookies is a solid lunch for me. But a knife can be handy, so why not? For first aid, the only thing I'd carry is an antihistamine like Benadryl in case of bee sting.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  4. #4

    Default

    https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-adv...ssentials.html

    If there is off trail hiking, work gloves and safety glasses.

    You may want to do a search for the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club, they spend a lot of time on off trail hikes.

  5. #5

    Default

    Hello,

    Thank you for all of the advice. I have learned a lot and appreciate your input. I have been told by the steward that there are not any large, mature American Chestnut trees in this preserve so I am thinking about looking elsewhere. However, since Slo-go'en suggested that these are old growth forests it still may be worthwhile to take the hike. Here is a little info about myself.
    I do not have any hiking experience. I do some trail running, work in construction and am in good physical condition. I plan to take this hike alone.

    Thanks again.

    Here is the gps to the access point 3715'36.6"N 8059'43.5"W





  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    04-28-2008
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Age
    62
    Posts
    70

    Default

    Looks like the old growth area is in the steeper areas which allowed it to avoid logging. Without a partner I would avoid anything too steep using your own judgement. But grabbing rocks and trees as you ascend and descend hence gloves. Beware of the ticks and lyme disease. Long pants/shirt... Sturdy shoes. Phones may or may not work so don't count on them. The GPS and tracking can still work as it comes from the satellites. Twisting an ankle can be an issue so have a plan if the phone won't work.
    Looks like an 1800 foot climb. Very doable but tough. Make sure you can get altitude if nothing else from an app. so you understand your progress or lack thereof. Sometimes it can be slow. The key area surrounds the two ravines to the right of the marker. Hard to get truly lost here just head down. App will help you to be more precise particularly if you find something and if you want to confidently come down a different ravine or ridge.

    Apps anyone?
    https://www.google.com/maps/place/37...954167!5m1!1e4
    compare to
    https://500yearforest.org/wp-content...hesnut_Map.jpg

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Daybreak View Post
    Looks like the old growth area is in the steeper areas which allowed it to avoid logging. Without a partner I would avoid anything too steep using your own judgement. But grabbing rocks and trees as you ascend and descend hence gloves. Beware of the ticks and lyme disease. Long pants/shirt... Sturdy shoes. Phones may or may not work so don't count on them. The GPS and tracking can still work as it comes from the satellites. Twisting an ankle can be an issue so have a plan if the phone won't work.
    Looks like an 1800 foot climb. Very doable but tough. Make sure you can get altitude if nothing else from an app. so you understand your progress or lack thereof. Sometimes it can be slow. The key area surrounds the two ravines to the right of the marker. Hard to get truly lost here just head down. App will help you to be more precise particularly if you find something and if you want to confidently come down a different ravine or ridge.

    Apps anyone?
    https://www.google.com/maps/place/37...954167!5m1!1e4
    compare to
    https://500yearforest.org/wp-content...hesnut_Map.jpg

    Thanks Daybreak,

    I will definitely have an app on my phone.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by StarTrail View Post
    Hello,

    Thank you for all of the advice. I have learned a lot and appreciate your input. I have been told by the steward that there are not any large, mature American Chestnut trees in this preserve so I am thinking about looking elsewhere.
    Thanks again.Here is the gps to the access point 3715'36.6"N 8059'43.5"W
    Interesting project. Are you interested in finding seed producing trees?

  9. #9

    Default

    I'm in search of some seeds from the American Chestnut trees that survived in the Appalacia's. Has anyone come across these trees on their hikes?

    A video describing them:

    https://youtu.be/Nw-X_h1QO0I

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DbrY-J0bpto

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=27HGWmj2Xd8

    Chestnut ridge:

    Last edited by zelph; 07-30-2022 at 13:24.

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