Maryland Outdoor Club
Sun, Apr 23 2006 - Diff. Day Hike in GWNF (West Massanutten Mtn) (View Original Event Details)

Event Organizer(s): Jeff Schneider
Participants:Duruhan Badraslioglu, Kate Hicks, Jeff Schneider, Lucas Fisher, Paul Shaklan, Jim Polfer

Write Up:
The day turned gray as soon we began to drive up the mountain. When we reached the trailhead, we hurriedly put on our raingear and start to move--the best remedy for the rain and cold.

Fortunately, before we even made it a half mile on the rocky Massanutten Trail, the storm clouds moved away and the sun was creeping through. It was a bit humid, but an April 70 degree temperature and cool breeze kept things comfortable. The sun came out completely and didn't go away for the rest of the hike.

The first four and half miles of this hike were on a rocky, uneven stretch of the Southwestern side of the Massanutten Trail. It was full of rises and dips. There were also some wet rocks and logs, and one of us took a fall and chin met rock. The group came together and helped the fallen hiker dress the minor wounds.

When we reached Jawbone Gap, we descended into the Valley. There's a memorial down there for 'Backtracker', which was composed of a Cross, a 'R.I.P', and a date of September 2005. It's a little odd encountering something like this, where so much can be left for the imagination.

Upon reaching the Gap Creek trail, we enjoyed our first lunch on the bridge over Gap Creek. Then came a muddy switchbacked climb up the Gap Creek Trail. Lucas did his best impression of a rocket and made it to Peach Orchard Gap in no time.

Duncan Knob involves a pretty intense rocky scramble to the top. We finally saw someone else on the trail - a woman hiking solo with a dog. When we reached the top of Duncan Knob and were enjoying views of the Valley between Massanutten and Shenandoah we heard a 'Hello?????' out in the distance. Paul and Lucas took charge and spotted the woman we met earlier down below. Apparently, her rock scrambling led her to a place where she wasn't sure where she was. There was heroic navigational help provided, and then some college kids came by from below to further assist the lady and help calm her dog.

After a breezy and pleasant second lunch, we descended down the knob and to the East side of the Massanutten Trail. There were more muddy stretches of the trail and we did our best to avoid getting our feet wet while not causing erosion. An 800 ft, 33% grade climb up Waterfall Mountain ended the hike. This is a particularly fun climb, as the first part is straight up and not switchbacked at all.

We celebrating completing these 14.9 tough miles with a Mexican Dinner at Mindi's in Luray. There was a shortage of menus, but we shared and enjoyed our Tamales, Burritos, Nachos and Salad/toppings.

Thanks to everyone for coming out and I hope you had a good time!

--Jeff Schneider

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