The plan for this hike was to do an in and out on the Appalachian Trail from VA 812 to Punch Bowl Shelter. These plans changed slightly on day 2, when I ran into another section hiker “Wheezy-Pee” and her dog “Boots Wayah” who happened to be heading my way, plus an additional 11.1 miles South to Petites Gap Road. I ended up hiking a 3rd day with them to get those extra miles in! The parking at VA 812 is small, with room for about 4 cars on the side of the road. On day 1, the hike North up to Punch Bowl Shelter starts off as a long steep uphill for about 7.8 miles to Bluff Mountain and then heads back down to Punch Bowl. The views are outstanding along the way, especially at Fullers Rocks ans Little Rocky Row. On Day 1 I spent the night in my Zpacks Duplex at Punchbowl Shelter area. It got really cold that night, around 38F.
On day 2, I headed South again and targeted Johns Hollow Shelter as the stopping point. Wheezy-Pee arrived at the top of Bluff Mountain near the Ottie Cline Powell Memorial. This section is great SoBo…almost all down hill! Johns Hollow Shelter was crowded that night with a fun mix of through hikers and weekenders.
On day 3, the hike took me South over the James River Foot Bridge, past Matts Creek Shelter for a snack, and up over Highcock Knob Summit. The flowers on day 3 were amazing!
AT Miles 797.8 – 777.2
AT Miles Hiked – 20.6
Trip Miles Hiked – 31.8
Annual Total – 74.1