Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Best 1-Mile Side Trip on the GET

Last summer on my way home from the Appalachian Trail Biennial, I completed a spur trail of the GET that had haunted me since the 2013 thru-hike.

On that late spring day in 2013, we had dry-camped the night before. Water was an issue on the Shenandoah Mountain Trail, but even moreso that day: my water bladder had sprung a leak and I had no water. Zero. Nothing.

When we got to this sign featuring a .5 (yes, it is point-five, the period is hard to see) spur trail to High Knob Tower, Bart and I knew that we just didn't have the water for a 1-mile roundtrip detour.

"It's a thru-hike, not a thorough hike," Bart pointed out, and I knew he was right.  We kept hiking until we found water. Using duct tape and super glue, I fixed the water bladder while Bart sat in the dirt and beheaded woodticks. At that point, it was way too late to turn around to come back and hike the spur trail. We carried on.

So last summer, I was pumped when my travel buddy/mother agreed to climb to High Knob Tower with me.  The trail is marked with this lovely yellow i, sometimes moderately obscured but not too badly. The trail itself was in great shape. The .5 mile climb was brutal in the heat, but the views from the Tower made it worth it!  Views of Virginia and West Virginia made my heart soar.

Mom sits in the grassy shade

Reddish Knob in the distance
 On the way back to the car, we got to visit with this little guy.  He wanted the whole trail to himself:

High Knob Tower is an amazing side trip on the Great Eastern Trail.  I very much wish I could have enjoyed it during the thru-hike, but it probably meant more to me to visit it in 2015.