Craig County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: July 30, 2006
Author: Patrick Craft

In order to fully appreciate this highpointing trip some detail is required. It began as a 3 day, 50 mile section hike on the AT over 3 days. We met at the Rendevouz Hotel in Pearisburg VA. Great little place: a wonderful owner Brenda (and Buck), concrete floors, on the AT, and only $40! A bonus was Brenda’s stories about guests she has had; transvestites, drug dealers, an assault with bodily injury, etc...

Saturday morning Brenda shuttled us around to the AT at VA 621. That left me about 30 miles from the rooftop of Craig County. We hiked all day Saturday, getting to War Spur shelter at 9 pm, in the rain, and 20 miles from our start. Along the way we experienced a 10 button rattlesnake, 2 hiking nuns from Savannah GA atop Sinking Creek mountain, yummy blackberries, the biggest oak tree I've ever seen (the Keffer oak and reportedly the 2nd largest tree on the AT), and a group of box wine/vodka swilling students from VT, GA Tech, and WVU atop Kelly Knob. We arrived at the War Spur shelter in the dark and rain, ate, and went to bed.

Sunday morning we climbed Lone Pine Peak, feasting on Blueberries up top. When the AT turned west toward FS 613, I continued north on an old logging road to the Potts Mountain trail and thence to the highpoint. Though overgrown, it was a beautiful walk; ferns, grass, and peaceful. Not much view with the low clouds. I then motored back to the AT and down to the White Rocks parking lot.

This story would not be complete without a description of later events recounted here and in the ensuing 36 hours. We left White Rocks and made our way to Stony Fork Creek, AT mile 31.5. As the bridge over Stony was washed out from Hurricane Ivan, we crossed and relaxed in our birthday suits. Ed, a great friend (but slow hiker) was traveling at less than his glacial pace and when we arrived at Pine Swamp branch we decided to bail as it was late, Ed was hurting, and the AT is waterless atop Peter mountain for 15 miles. We were afraid Ed would get into trouble and the only road off the mountain is at Symms Gap. We sat along VA 635, were invited to a cookout with hamburgers and beer, and finally given a ride by the owner of the car in the parking lot (he had been out riding a bicycle). We returned to the Rendevouz and were greeted by Brenda with the statement, "You look terrible and I'll get the key to your room."