Friday, September 24, 2010

Mary's Rock - September 11, 2010

It was the last Saturday before soccer season, so Will and I joined the PATC Charlottesville Chapter for a relatively short hike on the Appalachian Trail in a section of Shenandoah National Park that I have never hiked.

Here is the trail club's description:

September 11 Jewell Hollow to Marys Rock: Iva Gillet. 6.8 miles. Walk the AT north from Jewell Hollow to a short side trail to the magnificent view at Marys Rock. Directions: Route 29 north to Madison, then route 231 to Sperryville, route 211 to Thornton Gap, then about 5 miles south on Skyline Drive, parking on right.

There was a good crowd for this hike, though no other hikers from the 10 year old set, which disappointed Will.  We drove past Sperryville to get to the trailhead, bringing us into the DC hiking sphere, which is why I don't come up this way often.  But it was a great day for a hike, and the trail wasn't too crowded for the most part.  There is not a lot of elevation gain here, as the lowest and highest points on this hike are within 500 feet of each other.  But it was great for taking kids hiking, and the view from Mary's Rock is a great one.

Most folks seem to hike to Mary's Rock from the north, just off of U.S. 211.  It is a much steeper hike this way, and made me think that this is the DC/NoVa equivalent of Charlottesville's favorite hike: Humpback Rocks.  There was a big crowd on Mary's Rock, and it was always changing.  But the view was worth braving the crowds.

On the way out and back we passed the Leading Ridge Trail.  I am very anxious to try this hike sometime, as I am told it may be the steepest hike in this part of the state.  That makes it worth trying!
Mary's Rock
Lunching on the Rock.
On the way home, the entire group stopped for ice cream in Sperryville before driving back to Charlottesville.  It was a great day for an easy hike!

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