Echols Dorm: Brick Wall By Side Door
Saint Mary's Wilderness
This will be an overnight backpacking trip to “Saint Mary’s Wilderness.” This is a 17.5 mile overnight loop hike. On a scale of easy, moderate, and strenuous, it is rated that “even with the considerable change in elevation, it is a trip of only moderate difficulty.” I’m trying to gear this trip towards beginners or intermediates (because that’s where I fall), but everyone is obviously welcome. We’ll hike about 10.5 miles and break camp, then finish the 7 miles out on Sunday morning. The hike is described in the guide book as: “The hike begins rather gently by following one of the old mining roads (now soft and grassy in some places) along the environs of Saint Mary’s River. Less than 4 miles into the trip, the route swings away from the river and into several areas of former mining activity. You leave the mines behind by making a stiff climb of about a mile to upland forests on Big Levels and Bald Mountain. From the high point, the hike descends into small stream valleys (providing secluded camping spots) before dropping back to Saint Mary’s River for the return to the trailhead.” There should be lots of waterfalls, mines, and other cool things to look at. It’s about an hour’s drive Southwest of here. We’ll leave Sat. morning and come back Sun. afternoon (hopefully relatively early).
Outdoors at UVa provides:
Sat. dinner, Sun. breakfast, gas money, and if you need: big backpack, sleeping bag and pad, tent, and a seat in a car.
You must bring:
Sat and Sun lunch/snack food, at least one liter of water (I’ll be carrying at least two), solid footwear (I’ve never been on this hike, but imagine there will be lots of water/streams, and we might have to cross a couple; I’ll have boots, sneakers will probably work), socks (they might get wet!), bug spray, toilet paper, flashlight, warm clothes (the low is in the low forties or upper thirties, so it will be good and cold!). Try to bring as little cotton as possible, because if it gets wet you’ll lose lots of heat! (Check the link for a full listing of what you’ll probably need)