Time  8 hours 56 minutes

Coordinates 2652

Uploaded March 3, 2017

Recorded March 2017

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5,417 ft
3,294 ft
0
4.4
8.8
17.68 mi

Viewed 688 times, downloaded 14 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 Virginia sector, from route VA 600 - Elk Garden, to Route VA-603 - Fox Creek.

The stage corresponds to the complete section 43, according to the official stage distribution of the Appalachian Trail, as it passes through the state of Virginia, and runs through beautiful natural spaces :: Lewis Fork Wilderness, Mt. Rogers, Wilburn Ridge, Grayson Highlands State Park, Little Wilson Creek Wilderness, Stone Mountain, Pine Mountain, ... largely comprised in 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 hikers as one of the most beautiful sections of the Appalachian Trail, is located between the 3,500 and 5,500 feet, and it is especially interesting to travel it during the spring, when the small forests of rhododendrons 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, where numerous ponies graze, accustomed to the trekkers pass, and 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 southernmost sections, with milder weather 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 mercilessly, and without the possibility of finding sheltered areas, due to the typology of the land and vegetation of these summits.

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

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

The earth is frozen and creaks at every step, producing a pleasant and characteristic sound that helps keep pace with the march, and in many areas there is ice, formed in the rain ponds fallen the day before.

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

In the grasslands we see the first groups of ponies.

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

At the rear of this refuge, there is a set of rocks that, as a viewpoint, allow you to contemplate a beautiful panoramic view that reaches even some of the highest mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee. Around the shelter, there are also groups of ponies, familiar with the human presence, and sometimes they go out to meet the walkers who walk these peaks.

This is the itinerary that follows the route, seen in three dimensions .

IBP Index: 96 HKG
Total distance: 28.56 Km
Desn. Cumulative climb: 674.78 m
Desn. cumulative descent: 963.63 m
Maximum height: 1633.66 m
Minimum height: 1018.09 m
Total time: 8:56:25 h
Time in movement: 7:52:26 h
Stopped time: 1:03:59 h
Average total speed: 3.19 Km / h
Average speed in movement: 3.63 Km / h


IBP index. IBP index is an automatic valuation system that scores the difficulty of a route traveled
Intersection

Inicio de la etapa, de madrugada. Ruta VA 600 - Elk Garden

Inicio de la etapa, de madrugada. Ruta VA 600 - Elk Garden
panorama

Pradera en la ladera de Balsam Mountain

Pradera en la ladera de Balsam Mountain
Mountain pass

Deep Gap

Deep Gap
Photo

Subida muy gradual y sendero helado

Subida muy gradual y sendero helado
Photo

Tramo rocoso, entre abetos

Tramo rocoso, entre abetos
panorama

Vista panorámica y ponis

Vista panorámica y ponis
Intersection

Desvío a la cima del Mt Rogers

Desvío a la cima del Mt Rogers
Shelter

Thomas Knob Shelter. Refugio, vistas y más ponis

Thomas Knob Shelter. Refugio, vistas y más ponis
panorama

Vista desde la cresta, hacia el Rhododendron Gap

Vista desde la cresta, hacia el Rhododendron Gap
panorama

Pine Mountain

Pine Mountain
Photo

Rocas próximas al Fatman Squeeze. Pequeña gruta y rocas

Rocas próximas al Fatman Squeeze. Pequeña gruta y rocas
panorama

Vista desde roca

Vista desde roca
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Intersection

Límite entre el Grayson Highlands State Park y la Mount Rogers National Recreation Area

Límite entre el Grayson Highlands State Park y la Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
panorama

Riscos

Riscos
River

Quebec Branch

Quebec Branch
Shelter

Wisse Shelter

Wisse Shelter
River

Big Wilson Creek

Big Wilson Creek
Intersection

Cruce con Bearpen Trail

Cruce con Bearpen Trail
panorama

Por la cresta despejada

Por la cresta despejada
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Photo

The Scales. Corral para ganado y caballos, situado entre Pine y Stone Mountains

The Scales. Corral for cattle and horses, located between Pine and Stone Mountains
Intersection

Intersección del AT con el Pine Mountain Trail

Intersección del AT con el Pine Mountain Trail
Shelter

Old Orchard Shelter

Old Orchard Shelter
Parking

Intersección del AT con la ruta VA-603 - Fox Creek

Intersección del AT con la ruta VA-603 - Fox Creek

3 comments

  • 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

    Increíble!
    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.
    Enhorabuena!

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