the Virginia triple crown

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this section is considered the crown and glory of the Appalachian trail. And this is the iconic McAfee knob shot.

there was some hot hiking to get here. 88° was unexpected.

For the benefit of section hikers like ourselves there’s pretty much cell service from dragon’s tooth to troutville. Frank and I were doing this time by Martin, The Edge, Hunley.

Our miles were not that long due to the absence of water on the trail. That meant we had to carry most of what we drank for the day. So that kept us under the 12 mile per day mark.

the Appalachian trail bubble was a little bit behind us. But there were plenty of thru hikers on this section.

And an abundance of wildflowers.

They love the heat. Us, not so much.

Our second day was not much more mileage than the first.

The views on this section were incomparable.

Among our many wildlife encounters were snakes, deer, owls and ticks. Many, many, tics. We had deer in camp for our first two nights.

Do you know what kind this is?

our third day we drop down into troutville Virginia. Frank suggested that we stay at the bee cHill hostel and that was a good decision. It rained that night.

after a wonderful breakfast they prepared for us we pushed on. Coming up upon full hard knob shelter I was greeted by this site.

we had 10 miles to do this day and it was some of the best walking of the trip. We’re going to be joined by Toni, her plan was to drive from Memphis. But due to family issues at home she was forced to reconsider the decision and considering the long drive I understood. So you can imagine my surprise when she comes stumbling into camp that evening. Having driven all the way from Memphis and hiking 10 miles. She’s a beast on the trail. And I was glad to have her company.

she picked a big day of hiking.

probably the big character of our trip was a man named Homer. Homerun shuttles in this section and he picked us up at the river and took us back to our starting point. At 82 years old he is as spry as a teenager.

Homer ended up shuttling us twice but I ran into him on the trail three times. Once when we pulled into troutville he was mowing several acres of the Appalachian trail. And I do mean acres with a push mower. Then later I ran into him on the Blue ridge parkway when we popped out shuttling someone else

and of course at the end he was there to retrieve us. Such an interesting character he hiked the trail at age 62.

Frank and Martin were way ahead of us. So we enjoyed a leisurely stroll.

Our day’s hike paralleled the Blue ridge parkway for a significant amount of time.

we would have to make a dry camp, retrieving water from the bottom of the parkway and carrying at 7/10 of a mile to a knob.

our 6th days saw us doing less than 6 MI. Giving us an overall total of 55. The amount of elevation completed was11,089 feet climbing. We averaged 9.2 miles per day, and our daily elevation average was 1968.

Despite the heat I really enjoyed the section. It’s very dry though. We’re now officially one third of the way done with the Appalachian trail.

What do you think of Franks shorts?

one final note before concluding this epic journey. I did not get a single blister with all the heat and the 40 lbs we were carrying with extra water

what made the difference you may ask?

SmartWool hiking socks.

have used Darn tough before but these knock the socks off of them. @smartwool.