Saint Mary's Wilderness
If you’re like me and have a mortal fear of being attacked by wild ponies, then this is the trip for you! With any luck we’ll be attacked by bears instead, but I seriously doubt this will happen 🙁
So, we’re going to the St. Mary’s Wilderness which is about an hour south of here on the Blue Ridge Parkway (so for anyone not able to make the trip down to Grayson Highlands, maybe this’ll help). We’ll leave Saturday afternoon, hike in about 3 miles and set up camp. Then Sunday we’ll leave our tents and bomb a 13ish mile loop. This loop includes a minority of hiking along dirt roads, and while I agree that it sucks, I strongly believe that the rest of the hike will more than make up for it. We’ll get back to camp, ingest food heavily, slumber more heavily, and then on Monday hike back out the way we came so we can get back to Cville and cozy up with some books.
St. Mary’s has a sweet river running through it (which, if we’re lucky, will be raging and we’ll have to make a gnarly crossing). As I remember it, the views were neither numerous, nor spectacular, BUT it was rainy and generally miserable when I was there, so I could be wrong. Regardless of my memory, it has great terrain, plants, rivers/streams, and the place is absolutely littered with campsites. Something also used to be mined there, not sure what, but there’s some old equipment and some weird, unnatural formations.
While this “backpacking” trip is rather light on the actual packing done (we’re really basecamping for a day hike), you should know how to pack a weekend’s worth of gear into a pack that can hold it all and be able to camp in the aforementioned fashion (NOT CAR CAMPING). Basically, if you can pack a pack reasonably well (it’s not hard) and can hike 13 miles, you’re golden. Remember, it’ll be cool (highs around 70, lows around 45), so have warm clothes. If you don’t have an overnight-sized pack, a warm sleeping bag, or a sleeping pad, you can get it Thursday at the Gear Room at 5:00. If you can’t make it to the gear room, email me BEFORE 4:30 on Thursday and I’ll pick it up for you. If you sign up AFTER 4:30 on Thursday and need gear, but don’t come to the Gear Room, then you’re probably out of luck. You may also want to bring a lightweight day pack since we’ll leave the majority of our gear in camp on Sunday.
Get ready to be completely overwhelmed by the beautiful fall weather, people. The National Weather Service is predicting absurd amounts of sunlight with highs in the lower 70s and upper 60s. If anyone has a breakdown, we have a support group to help you cope with the glory of being outside, but if god forbid we see a double rainbow, well, I really don’t have any hope for ever being the same again.
-Motorized Transport to and from destination.
-Foodstuffs (Saturday supper through Monday breakfast)
-Personal Gear (Largeish Backpack, Sleeping Bag + Pad) if needed (come to Gear Room Thursday or email me if you can’t come)
-Not so personal gear (Tents, Water Filter, Stove, Cooking Implements, First Aid)
-On Time Arrival
-Additional Trail Snacks if desired
-Variety of Clothing/Textiles (read Layers)
-Eating Implements (I recommend a plastic bowl with a lid and a metal spoon and nothing else)
-Sturdy footwear you can get wet (remember: RIVER crossing—I’m not sure of the water level, but I doubt that anything short of knee-highs or waders will stay dry. This may be a gross exaggeration because I definitely did not cross at the correct place last time)
-Rain Gear (we will not be using this, however, you should still bring it in case we need material with which to construct a paraglider)
-at least 2 Liters worth of water storage (preferably full upon arrival), wouldn’t hurt to have a third
-Toilet Paper for all you wimps