The group met up at the Walmart parking lot in Dublin, Virginia. Dublin is between Pulaski and Radford, just off of Interstate 81, and about a two and a half hour drive from Charlottesville. Here the group consolidated into three cars, and I gave my car to another hiker to drive to the end point of my hike on Rt 42. We drove that hiker's car to the beginning point of my hike, on U.S. 11 near Groseclose, Virginia, which was that hiker's end point. We planned to meet up in the middle and exchange keys. Not including the side trip to Walmart, the drive to the trailhead took three hours from Charlottesville, a distance of 200 miles.
Our hike did not start out without some difficulty. We chose to ask the store manager at a Sunoco gas station with a large parking lot on U.S. 11 if we could leave the vehicle for a few hours. He was not interested in helping us. This is pretty mysterious to me - why would someone with a business right on the A.T. want to alienate the hiking community? Word gets around. I was prepared to purchase items in the store, but put them back after hearing him bicker to our hike leader. I recommend that other hikers stay away from this business, despite abundant parking space.
We ended up paying $3 to the Relax Inn motel next door to leave the car.
After hiking up U.S. 11 and crossing under the interstate on Route 683 (Windsor Road), we started up the A.T. This is a pretty wet section, as can be seen by the raised walkways and bridges.
|Stream crossing almost immediately after leaving the road under I-81.|
|Crossing a boardwalk.|
|The trail started out in pasture lands.|
|Photo of Davis Path Campsite shows table, privy, and former shelter site.|
|View towards Mt. Rogers from the trail.|
|Road sign in valley.|
|Green Tunnel as we climb to Tilson Gap.|
|Recent snows stuck to the tree branches.|
|Watch out for the cow pies! The trail crosses the open field on the hill in back|
then cuts into the woods.
|This sign added some mystery to our hike, since the easement boundary was never obvious.|
|Trail descends to North Fork, Holston River.|
|Tilson's Mill doesn't have a lot of years left.|
|Hiking through pastures, with Walker Mountain in the background.|
The end of the hike was not the end of the adventure, however!
|Hike and Drive Elevation Profile|
PATC Difficulty Factor: 369.5
Total Distance: 14.2 miles
Total Time: 7 hours, 21 minutes (6:04 moving time).
Starting Elevation: 2418 ft.
Low Point: 2415 ft.
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