Matt Rosefsky's apartment
Laurel Fork Special Management Area
This backpacking adventure is a chance for people with little or no experience to see what backpacking (hiking with camping gear on your back) is like, on a relatively short course. We strongly encourage more experienced backpackers to come as well, so that we can learn from each other. The pace will accommodate those who would prefer not to hike quickly. This will be a circuit loop; we’ll hike in 6 or 10 miles (depending on the time and how everybody is feeling) to a backcountry campsite, and hike out 3.5 miles the next day. We should be back mid-afternoon Sunday. If you’re interested in the fall break reading holiday 4-day Appalachian Trail hike but not sure if you can handle backpacking that long, this shorter backpacking adventure will be a great indicator. In addition, there will be a backpacking informational meeting before the trip (stay tuned to email).
THE HIKE: My book says this hike, called Laurel Fork, “more closely resembles the forest lands of New England and Canada than the central or southern Appalachians. Red spruce, red pine, and birch thrive here, interspersed between tall sugar maples and oaks. Dozens of beaver ponds flood the mountain valleys, creating the tannin-darkened bogs that are so well associated with natural areas in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. In addition to the usual assortment of Appalachian Mountain wildlife—turkeys, black bears [don’t worry! I’ve seen bears here 4 times and had no danger!], deer, mink, and raccoons—the area is home to snowshoe hares and is one of the few places in Virginia to have a known population of flying squirrels.” The hike is near the Va / WVa border, and sounds interesting & fun to me!
Outdoors at UVa provides:
Saturday dinner, Sunday breakfast, gas money, and if you need: big backpack, sleeping bag and pad, tent, and a seat in a car.
You must bring:
Please bring at least 1 liter of water (two half-liter / 16-oz. bottles might be most convenient), Saturday lunch, Sunday lunch money (we’ll stop off somewhere on the way back to Cville), preferably waterproof hiking boots (we’ll be crossing some streams; sneakers are o.k. but now’s your chance to buy a new pair of boots and wear ‘em in), extra socks in case they get wet, bug spray, toilet paper, flashlight and warm clothes for night, spooky bedtime stories. See also internet link for reference. Try your best not to bring any cotton clothes, for wet cotton is cold and wet for a long time whereas non-cotton stuff provides some warmth even when wet. (Remember your UVa Outdoors 10% discount at Blue Ridge Mountain Sports!)