Time  8 hours 56 minutes

Coordinates 2652

Uploaded March 3, 2017

Recorded March 2017

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5,417 f
3,294 f
17.68 mi

Viewed 522 times, downloaded 10 times

near Big Hill, Virginia (United States)

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Stage 44

⇐ Link to the previous stage: 43 - APPALACHIAN TRAIL - VIRGINIA - Section 45.1 and 44 - Route VA 728 - Creek Junction, to Buzzard Rock, and VA 600 - Elk Garden
⇒ Link to the next stage: 45 - APPALACHIAN TRAIL - VIRGINIA - Section 42 and 41.2 - From VA-603 - Fox Creek, to VA-670 - Teas Rd - S. Fork of Holston River

Tour of the Appalachian Trail ( Appalachian Trail ), passing through the state of Virginia (United States), from south to north, in the Southwest sector of Virginia, from the route VA 600 - Elk Garden, until Route VA-603 - Fox Creek.

The stage corresponds to the complete section 43, according to the official distribution of stages of the Appalachian Trail, passing through the state of Virginia, and runs through natural spaces of great beauty :: Lewis Fork Wilderness, Mt. Rogers, Wilburn Ridge, Grayson Highlands State Park, Little Wilson Creek Wilderness, Stone Mountain, Pine Mountain, ... largely comprised of the protected area of the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and always inside the George Washington Jefferson National Forest.

This section of the trail, considered by many walkers as one of the most beautiful sections of the Appalachian Trail, is located between the altitude of 3,500 and 5,500 feet, and is especially interesting to cover during the spring, when the small rhododendron forests that accompany the course of the trail is in full bloom, and the good temperature also allows you to enjoy the beautiful meadows that abound in these peaks, in which numerous ponies graze in semi-freedom, accustomed to the passage of hikers, and who approach without fear of receiving his caresses and the occasional carrot.

On this occasion, the programming of our stages, through the Appalachian Trail, has required taking advantage of the winter months to conclude the sections located further south, with milder climate and better temperature, in order to dedicate the summer season to the last stages in the state of Maine, where it is only possible to walk between mid-June and the end of September.

However, although we did not find snow at this stage, it was very cold throughout the day, with a thermal sensation of several degrees below zero, due to the strong wind that blew without mercy, and without the possibility of finding sheltered areas, due to the typology of the terrain and vegetation of these summits.

Started the march with the first lights of the day, we head up the Balsam Mountain, in a very gentle climb that leads to the Deep Gap, small hill located about three kilometers from the start.

The spaces destined to prairie, and the shortage of trees of this high zone, allow to enjoy beautiful panoramic views, of 360º, being seen at long distance, the silhouettes of other many summits of the region.

The ground is frozen and creaks at each footfall, producing a pleasant and characteristic sound that helps keep the pace of the march, and in many areas there is ice, formed in the ponds of the rain that fell the previous day.

The trail continues its gradual climb, surrounding Mt. Rogers on the south, and entering a more wooded area, where conifers predominate, especially fir trees, although there is also a very high mortality rate of some tree species, due to a plague of insects, as is also the case around the Clingmans Dome (Great Smoky Mountains National Park), and in the Roan Highlands area.

In the pasture areas we see the first groups of ponies.

The Appalachian Trail does not pass directly over the top of Mt. Rogers (5,729 feet), Virginia's highest point, but can be accessed through a side path of about 800 meters, indicated by blue markers, which starts at close distance from Thomas Knob Shelter.

At the back of this refuge, there is a set of rocks that, as a lookout, allow you to contemplate a beautiful panoramic view that reaches even some of the highest mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee. In the surroundings of the refuge, there are also groups of ponies, familiar with the human presence, and sometimes they go out to meet the hikers who travel these peaks.


Índice IBP: 97

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Inicio de la etapa, de madrugada. Ruta VA 600 - Elk Garden
Pradera en la ladera de Balsam Mountain
Deep Gap
Subida muy gradual y sendero helado
Tramo rocoso, entre abetos
Vista panorámica y ponis
Desvío a la cima del Mt Rogers
Thomas Knob Shelter. Refugio, vistas y más ponis
Vista desde la cresta, hacia el Rhododendron Gap
Pine Mountain
Rocas próximas al Fatman Squeeze. Pequeña gruta y rocas
Vista desde roca
Límite entre el Grayson Highlands State Park y la Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
Quebec Branch
Wisse Shelter
Big Wilson Creek
Cruce con Bearpen Trail
Por la cresta despejada
The Scales. Corral for cattle and horses, located between Pine and Stone Mountains
Intersección del AT con el Pine Mountain Trail
Old Orchard Shelter
Intersección del AT con la ruta VA-603 - Fox Creek


  • Photo of ignacio.ds

    ignacio.ds Mar 3, 2017

    Hola, Pablo:
    Compruebo, con agrado, que sigues incansable en tu recorrido por el Appalachian Trail, sección a sección, dándonos a conocer este gran sendero, nada que ver, salvo excepciones, con lo que tenemos en Europa.
    Sigue así.
    Un abrazo.

  • Photo of Pablo de Gárate

    Pablo de Gárate Mar 4, 2017

    Muchísimas gracias, Ignacio.
    Ahí vamos, poco a poco, ya quedan pocas etapas.
    Estoy terminando algunas etapas que había dejado sin recorrer por el sur, para poder aprovechar el invierno, ya que en Maine no se puede caminar hasta mediados de junio, poco más o menos.
    Ya siento que la aventura está llegando a su fin.
    Cuando acabe estas etapas de Virginia, ya sólo me faltará por recorrer las últimas de Maine. Espero terminar todo el sendero y llegar al monte Katahdin, hacia mediados de agosto. Hasta ahora he recorrido 2.900 km., de los 3.500 km. del Appalachian Trail.

  • Photo of ignacio.ds

    ignacio.ds Mar 4, 2017

    Sabía que el sendero discurre desde el noreste, en Maine, hasta Georgia, pero las distancias no me las podía imaginar; aquí no tenemos referencias similares.

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