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|Sunday, February 5, 2023|
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Mari and I decided to head up to George Washington and Jefferson National Forests near Strasberg, Virginia the day before Valentine's Day 2005 to reconnoitre a potential route for an upcoming Boy Scout backpacking outting.
Thank goodness that we checked out the proposed route before we brought the boys up in March! The original idea was to take the older scouts up to the park on Friday evening, backpack across the mountain to Strasberg Reservoir, and then trot down the Tuscarora and Massanutten Trails to Little Fort campground (where we would meet the rest of the troop for a Saturday night stay).
The biggest problem with the proposed route is the time of day and time of year that we would be attempting to cross the mountain. The expected sunset for that weekend is about 6:18PM and the earliest that we could get started on the trail is 5:00PM. Mari and I didn't reach the summit until after two hours of hiking and then there is still an additional half-mile to go before we reached the reservoir with over 600 feet of elevation drop. It would be too dark and too steep for me to feel good about taking eight teenage boys over the mountain.
Once we had determined that the Tuscarora Trail route over the mountain was out of the question for the boys, we took the Signal Knob trail back to where we started, just in case it would be more easily accomplished in the late evening. However, that route is a bear! Mari said that it is the only trail that she's ever been on that she doesn't want to do again! Although it had some wonderful views to the north, it had about two full miles of boulder crawls that were nearly as bad as any stretch of the 50 plus miles of lava that Matthew and I traversed last year.
Needless to say, I'm recommending that we alter our plans for the boys next month and will work our way up to something as difficult as the 12.6 miles that Mari and I covered in six hours total (not bad for a couple of out-of-shape 40-somethings)!
Link to images:
Images from Signal Knob hike