AT: Craig Creek Road (VA-621) to Johns Creek Valley Road (VA-632)

Birch and I are thrilled to be on the trail for a second weekend in a row! We dropped our car off at the AT crossing of VA-632, which is along a very narrow, unmaintained dirt road. At first, we weren’t even sure we would get there. We rolled down our window to ask a guy in a pick up truck and he assured us that we were going the right way. However, he pointed out that it would be much easier if we left the car at 601, at the top of the mountain.

Yeah….We know! Oh, the joys of trying to section hike as a purist!

We were fortunate to have Bennett Witcher shuttle us from the drop off point to our destination.

While last week was very warm and sunny, we had no such luck this week. We put on our rain gear and were surprised by how cold it was as we ascended the 1,500+ feet up Sinking Creek Mo5-6_1119untain. We took a picture at the Eastern Continental Divide sign (who wouldn’t?) and found that the next leg of the hike along the ridge was the hardest yet. The wind was fierce! The rocks were slippery. The rain only made things more miserable.

Luckily, this was a very short hike day for us. In no time we were at the turn off for Sarvor Hollow Shelter. We debated just moving forward for more miles and staying on the trail. However, the long descent to the water source, and the fact that the shelter had a cover over the picnic table, convinced us that staying was better than leaving.

Sarvor Hollow Shelter is really nice. It is set near the former homestead of Henry and thumbnail_5-6_1525Sarah Sarvor. In the 1870’s, this was farmland. The remnants of two buildings are still there today. We set up our tent, got water, explored the ruins of the old Sarvor homestead, and enjoyed watching a bird build her nest. Around dinner time, we were joined by two section hikers, one with a dog. “Monkey Crow” had done this section before, BUT…his dog had not. Needless to say, they both have to have the same trail miles, right? What better reason does one need to re-hike the same area? His buddy, “Gadget”, lived up to his name by bringing a very cool swivel chair with him.

The next day, the weather wasn’t much better. The rain had stopped but the clouds threatened and it wasn’t exactly warm out there. As we continued south, a thru hiker named “Camino” told us that it had snowed on the mountain the night before. We passed along farmland near Hwy 42 and I got to “hug” the biggest oak tree on the Appalachian Trail, the “Keffer Oak”.

Birch and I had the pleasure of crossing two major creeks, both of which required 5-7_1143navigating wet, slippery rocks and very robust water flows. We stopped at Laurel Creek Shelter for a delicious hot lunch and coffee before ascending up to Kelly Knob. After one mile of tough going, things got better. Then, we coasted until we had to do the significant descent past 601 and along a narrow, steep ridge.

By the time we completed the hike, the sky had cleared.  For those wondering, we saw a TON of thru hikers this trip. Many more than we could name or list. Many were bouncing along to loud music as they went. We’re looking forward to seeing the South-bounders in a few months!

 

2 thoughts on “AT: Craig Creek Road (VA-621) to Johns Creek Valley Road (VA-632)

  1. I continue to enjoy following your AT adventures. If I calculate correctly your next weekend out should take you past ” The Captain’s” at mile 655.6 NOBO. A short zipline across the creek puts you in the Captain’s back yard. Free cold drinks, friendly dog hellos, and free camping awaits you. Another suggestion I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t tell you about is the magnificent hostel called Wood’s Hole found at mile 623.8 NOBO. http://www.woodsholehostel.com Known on the AT as ” a slice of heaven, not to be missed.” They provide shuddles and you can park your car there. Considered one of the best, if not the best hostel on the AT. Neville is a wonderful owner and host. She took over managing the chestnut log cabin hostel from her grandparents. They opened the hostel in 1986. Many improvements have been built over the years. Congrats on your continued determination in hiking and someday fulfilling your dream of finishing the AT. Again I offer my help in anyway possible if needed. Until we meet again “Happy Trails.” I hope you don’t mind my suggestions. There are just (some not to be missed) places you should see while on trail.

    • Thanks for these tips, Roub. Hope that all is well with you. I’ll definitely check out your link to the Wood’s Hole. Take care! And, if you are ever in our area, give us a call.

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