Friday, thinking about what to do during a weekend in town… how about hiking? I hadn’t set foot on a hiking trail in Virginia since a solo backpacking trip in late November (which I still need to write up!), so I was overdue for getting out hiking. A quick phone call with David and we had concrete yet non-specific plans for a Sunday afternoon hike in the mountains.
My task was to select a route and after some quality time with a topo map I found two possibilities which looked manageable for an afternoon. After consulting with David we selected the option neither of us had done: a loop linking Slacks Trail and the White Rock Falls Trail, off the Blue Ridge Parkway just south of Afton Mountain.
The weather was close to perfect, cool air and blue skies with a few friendly looking clouds. We set off shortly after lunch for the quick drive to the trailhead. Then, shouldering our packs we set off into the woods.
The first section along Slacks Trail was nice walking with minimal elevation change. Towards the end there was a slight uphill section which presented little obstacle. We were shocked to arrive back at the road, the first half of our 5 mile loop complete, after just 40 minutes — realizing we’d been hiking at a good pace.
The second half was a bit tougher, with a decent descent along a creek…
… followed by a steep climb along the White Rock Falls. We briefly stopped at the bottom of the falls to scramble around on some rocks and enjoy the view of the waterfall.
After a moderate climb back up to the road we arrived at the car less than 2 hours after we’d started, the 5 miles covered with relative ease. All in all, a great afternoon outside.
Also the Slacks Trail section looks like it would make for an enjoyable mountain bike ride.. something which I will keep in mind for the Spring!
See more photos from today’s (and a past) hike in White Rock Falls on flickr.