With the trail running bug luring Bill and me back to the mountains, we took advantage of being in Southwestern Virginia last Friday, and ran to the top of McAfee Knob. Well, make that – we ran, with a few hiking breaks!
We were pleasantly surprised that the leaves weren’t too far from peak, and still had a lot of color. Just the weekend before we ran to the top of Molly’s Knob, and the leaves on the trees farther southwest appeared to be a couple weeks ahead.
Bill easily found the parking lot near the entrance to the Appalachian Trail, off of Route 311 in Roanoke County. It was cool out, with clouds socked in, as we debated on whether to add another layer to our running attire.
About 3/4-mile into our run, we came across our first sign telling us that we had 3.4 miles to go to the summit. Based on our prior research, this seemed about right, and that’s always a good thing when out on the trails.
We followed the white Appalachian Trial single blazes to assure that we were on the correct trail. I should note that Bill watched for the white blazes, I was far too busy watching where my foot would land next, to look up and see the blazes. For me, that’s the big difference between hiking and trail running. When hiking, I looked all around and admire the scenery. When trail running, I hardly take my eyes off the surface of the trail right in front of me!
Colorful leaves, huge rocks, and breathtaking views kept me stopping for quick pictures.
We crossed a number of bridges…
Ran through leaf covered dirt trails surrounded by deciduous trees…
Past mountain laurel…
Past scenic overlooks…
Across rocky fields…
Up scree covered trails…
Past beautiful fallen maple leaves that stuck out vividly amongst brown leaves…
Up stone steps…
And more stone steps…
And finally we got to the top of the mountain, and were treated to magnificent views from McAfee Knob…
We spent about an hour on top of McAfee Knob taking pictures, and talking to other hikers. Bill ran with a backpack holding his tripod and camera equipment, and it was well worth it. He took this picture from afar, using a cute little remote control to snap the shutter, and catch us on the iconic rock overlooking the Catawba Valley.
While on the mountain top, the clouds started moving out and we had a beautiful blue sky for our backdrop. Obsessed with getting a good jumping shot, I had Bill take a bunch of pictures that look very similar to this.
As we moved to the other side of the knob, I chose to cut through thick mountain laurel instead of walking across this narrow rock ledge.
Once on the other side of the knob, Bill set up shop to take more pictures, this time of the Roanoke Valley.
We had dinner reservations for 6:00 PM in Blacksburg, so after about an hour we headed back down the mountain. We still had an hour to drive to our hotel, before getting ready to go out.
We decided to save a little time by running back down the fire road. It’s less treacherous, and we knew we’d be able to run faster, and see some other sights as well.
Our first, of just a couple stops, was at this huge rock formation. If it were summer, I don’t think I would have gotten that close to the cracks and crevices, because it sure seemed like a wonderful place for rattlesnakes to hang out.
Just a little farther down the fire road, Bill didn’t see this broken root, caught his toe on it…
And went flying into the ditch along the road head-first! In my defense, I asked if he was okay and waited until he started moving and rolled over before I snapped this picture! Fortunately, other than getting quite dirty and skinning up his right knee, he wasn’t hurt.
Just before we headed off of the fire road, and back onto the Appalachian Trail, we ran past these huge and amazing picture worthy twin boulders.
Back on the AT, we ran the final mile down to Route 311 and to the parking lot. After an extremely hilly run we were starving and ready for some snacks!
At our car,we double checked Bill’s knee, pulled some snacks and drinks out of the back of the car, and took off for Blacksburg for a delicious dinner at The Black Hen.
For your hiking and trail running needs, don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win three free pairs of Feetures socks! You can enter daily until the contest ends on Sunday night.
Rules to enter my Feetures giveaway:
- You are allowed to enter every day during this period. The more times and ways you enter, the greater your chances of winning.
- Shipping is available only in the continental United States.
- Winners will be selected by Rafflecopter at midnight on Sunday, November 9, and announced by Tuesday, November 11.
- Once the winner is announced, that person will have until Friday, November 14 (my birthday) to claim the prize. If the winner fails to claim their prize, another winner will be chosen.
- Relatives of Deb Runs are not eligible to win.
To enter for a chance to win a three pairs of Feetures socks,
please use the Rafflecopter app below.
- Have you hiked or run on the Appalachian Trail?
- What similar trails do have near you?
- What socks do you like to hike/run trails in? ~ I’ve learned that the low cut socks that I love don’t work well for running up extremely steep hills and mountains! I see a Feetures Light Quarter Sock in my future!
Happy Running! ~ Deb