Tag: love va

I Hiked McAfee Knob and Didn’t Die

From time to time, our little running group likes to change things up and hike instead. There are so many amazing sights and experiences in SW Virginia, that sometimes I take them for granted. One such view that is practically on our front doorstep is McAfee Knob.

What can I say about McAfee Knob that hasn’t already been said? It’s one of the most photographed spots along the Appalachian Trail and for good reason; the views are breathtaking. Watching fellow hikers get too close to the edge of the knob is breathtaking too, but for different reasons.

From 311 to the knob is eight miles, round trip. Our group chose to take the fire road up to the trail, because most of us aren’t actual hikers. We’re really just in it for the social aspect of the outing.

And the pretty pictures.

Because I’m trying not to trip while staring at my feet anyway, I might as well enjoy the flowers along the trail. And look for heart rocks.

Because there are so many hikers on the mountain, you’re not likely to see a lot of wildlife along the way. Which is just fine with me. No snakes or bears.

After about two miles, we transitioned from the wide, easy fire road onto the more technical Appalachian Trail. Some in our group hiked a slightly longer route and approached the knob from the east. How they got over there, I have no idea, but they were advised to go that route by a fellow hiker because it had “a way doper view”. I hear that trail skirted the cliff, and their views focused on foot placement so as to remain on the mountain, not enjoying the “way doper view” from a freefall.

Don’t expect solitude while taking in the views at McAfee Knob, especially on weekends. If the weather is nice, the knob will be jammed up like a Disney park during spring break.

Not to worry, if you chat up the other hikers, you’ll meet some fascinating people and maybe even hear a crazy story or two. We met a few through-hikers and loads of day-trippers. One group was leaving as we arrived mid-morning. Maybe we drove them out? I wouldn’t bet against it. They were hiking the 28 miles of Virginia’s Triple Crown (Tinker Cliffs, McAfee Knob and Dragon’s Tooth) all in one day. *gulp*

Be sure to bring water and a snack. This is a good spot to re-fuel for the trek back down the mountain.

After resting awhile and soaking up the views, it was time to head back to civilization. We gave our knees a good pounding on the rocky trail, and then rewarded them by taking the more hospitable fire road for the duration of the hike.

Pro tip: When hiking the knob on the weekend, get to the parking lot on 311 early. Like, 6:30 to 7:00 AM, early. It fills up quickly.
If you’re hiking in a group, I recommend meeting at the park-and-ride lot (Orange Market – intersection of 311 and 419) and carpooling to the lot at the trail head on 311. We finished our hike about 11:00 AM and there were people literally blocking our parking spot hoping to snag it as we left. There were friendly volunteers directing traffic, trying to smooth out the parking situation. But fair warning, weekend parking at 311 is dog-eat-dog.

For more reading on McAfee Knob:
And if you’re crazy enough to do Virginia’s Triple Crown:

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

I Better See A Daggone Hobbit Up In Here

A hiking review of Cascades and Barney’s Wall near Pembroke, VA
8 miles round trip, 1,600′ elevation gain
TRIGGER WARNING: Terrifying Photos

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I don’t hike. I’m not one of those people who gets blissed out in the woods. The beach, yes. Ticks, bears, snakes, serial killers and poison ivy? No. However, I enjoy being married to one of those blissed out hikers, so I hike. Occasionally. And under great duress.

We paid $3 for this super awesome warning, but I guess they won’t tow away your car if you have it, so, okay cool. Also, nobody listens to me. Hiking. Is. Dangerous.
They even tell you that up front. Can’t say you weren’t warned.

So the hike to the falls is gorgeous.

We got there early and had the trail to ourselves. This section felt like hiking into The Shire.

There were fallen trees everywhere and even over the trail in several places. We climbed over some and crawled under two of them. Yes, crawled on our knees. Not kidding.

The falls are truly magical. Especially early in the morning before the waters fill with amorous Virginia Tech students.

I maintained a good attitude for the first 2.5 miles of our hike. Right up until we met a couple on their return trip from Barney’s Wall. They had just encountered a bear at a campsite near the top. I went into High Alert! Stressed out of my mind for the next 5.5 miles, I scanned the woods in every direction. Every boulder was a bear. Every distant stump was a bear. I’ll never understand how this is supposed to be relaxing.
Panic mode: Expert Level

View from Barney’s Wall. We met a lady on the way down from Cascades who said she’s never made it up to Barney’s Wall. My advice to her: Don’t. Just Google pictures of it. It looks the same. That lady said her group had just seen an enormous snake. The biggest one she’d ever seen. Good times.

Bear Campsite. And I really had to pee. No worries, we’re only 4 MILES from a bathroom.

Remember that I said we climbed over fallen tree trunks? I started over this one, reaching out to steady myself on a small tree nearby. Guess what I wrapped my hand around?


And his friend Super Creepy. And yes, I screamed like a girl. Hiking is like being trapped in a horror flick set in nature, not in some axe murderer’s wood shed. They don’t tell you that dying of a heart attack while hiking is a very real possibility. Just from sheer terror.

Oh, thank you, Jesus! Only two more miles of this mess. I just have to make it back to the car. I can do this, right? The sound of rushing water from the creek was not helping the really-gotta-pee situation.

We took the Upper Trail back to the parking lot and freedom. It was a nice assortment of rocks, pointy rocks, sharp pointy rocks, rocks covered in wet slippery leaves and mud puddles. And trees overhead just waiting to fall and crush us.
And my husband l.o.v.e.d. it.

If you’d still like to visit after all that, go here to check it out: https://www.virginia.org/listings/OutdoorsAndSports/CascadesNationalRecreationTrail/


Cascades Pro Tips: Highly recommended for a quick hike with great views. Get there early for parking and solitude. Because the Cascades hike is so popular, the trails fill up in beautiful weather. We took the Lower Trail for the climb to the falls. The scenery is beautiful, but be prepared to climb up and down stone steps toward the end. A little challenging for this shorty. If you want an easier stroll, the Upper Trail is wider and more accessible. The Upper Trail views are slightly less spectacular but still pretty.

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.