Tuesday, May 27, 2008

On To Rockfish Gap

Our hike yesterday took us from the Humpback Rocks parking area to Rockfish Gap. What a wonderful section of trail. It was very well maintained, even having been recently weed-eated. It was a rare treat along the AT in this area to hike on dirt rather than pick our way over rock. The up and down hill areas were well graded with rock steps at the switchbacks.
Farm equipment along the trial

The Paul C. Wolfe Shelter is a work of art. Sitting above Mill Creek, it boasted a large cooking porch with a picnic table. The sleeping platform was almost spotless. I had a fleeting thought that it had been vacuumed and dusted. I guess not, but it was very clean. I do not have any personal experience with the privy at this shelter, but I did read in the shelter register that it was outstanding. Mill Creek offers a swimming hole and waterfall for weary, dirty hikers. Our hats go off to the Old Dominion Appalachian Trail Club that maintains this section. Great job, guys.
Cooking porch at Paul Wolfe Shelter

We passed the remains of an old chimney just off the trail. Sometimes it is hard to imagine anything ever being here other than forest, but the trail passes through many areas which were thriving communities in the past. Most of these places have long since returned to a wilderness area.

Since we were near the Humpback Rocks Visitor Center, after our hike we stopped by to tour the Mountain Farm. It is a reconstruction of an early European pioneer farm in the area. The 19th century farm buildings are open for investigation and there were volunteers dressed in period clothing as well as a park ranger to answer questions and demonstrate pioneer skills. There were onions coming up in the garden and chickens in the chicken coop.
Log Cabin at Mountain Farm
Root Cellar

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