AT from US50-Ashby Gap to VA55-Linden, VA

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This started out being a three day backpacking trip. However, due to the extremely cold weather, people getting sick and other things, it ended up being a 13 mile "training exercise". This hike took place Saturday, January 15, 2000. There were alot of no-shows due to illness and concern about the cold. It was 15 degrees that morning and it was not predicted to be much above freezing for the day.
The 4 brave souls at the beginning of this hike at US50

We met on top of Paris Mountain at 9am at the former Ashby Gap Store. I hope that

At left, the 4 brave souls at the beginning of this hike at US50.
By Bill Isham

they reopen this by thru-hiker time as it is a needed service along the AT. We went to breakfast at a nice little restaurant about 2 miles west of the trail to assess the situation as some of those that showed up were not feeling well. We then shuttled the cars to the VA55-Linden, VA parking lot and went back to Ashby Gap to begin the hike. We then had one more dropout due to flu like symptoms. So for the start of this hike, it ended up being Jerry Robey, Charlie Johnson, a friend of a former coworker of mine whose name escapes me and myself.

We set this hike up so that we could have bailout points along it in case of bad weather. We started around 10:30am. It was a partly sunny day with temperatures in the 30's.
Jerry R and ?? prepare a snack at Dick's Dome Shelter, VA

At right, Jerry Robey and ?? prepare a snack at Dick's Dome Shelter
By Mike Calabrese

The trail was very nice in this section. The only real bad "up's" were between US 50 and the Sky Meadows Side Trail, right after Dick's Dome, where we ate lunch, and right after the Trico Tower Trail.

While we were hiking we were debating what to do as the cold was a factor. I personally was not keen on spending the night out in the cold. And since Jerry R and Charlie J had spent last night out in the cold, they weren't either. ?? was with us for the first time. He is a friend of a former co-worker of mine. He was from upstate New York and was used to the cold, but was willing to go along with the majority.
3 of the survivors pose at the VA 55 parking lot in the dark

At left, 3 of the survivors pose at the VA 55 parking lot in the dark
By Mike Calabrese

Jerry R decided to go home after that day. Since Charlie J was riding with him he had to leave as well. Since my father was very ill at the time I decided it was best if I was close to home so I decided to bail as well. We were supposed to hike to the Manassas Gap Shelter and spend the night there. However, since our cars were only 3 miles further, we decided to bag this hike and possibly do the section of the AT between VA55-Linden and US522- Front Royal, VA in March, 2000 as a day hike.

I guess that we're just getting older, but its just not as fun backpacking in the cold as it used to be. It looks like we'll be going out on the trail between April and September from now on. However, this was a nice stretch of trail and, with a shuttle, is a great day hike.

More Pictures

Mike C

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