When we headed out from Vienna Saturday morning, it was blustery and chilly, but the blue was out in the sky and the temperatures rose as we headed west towards Winchester, VA and beyond. When all was said and done, it was me, Shuttle, Karan, C Backwards, Sherpa, and two backpackers new to DC UL, Sara and Matt. We met the Most Interesting Man in Americuh at the Hampshire Grade Trailhead in the Sleepy Creek Wilderness Area, then headed south along some rather sketchy county roads to return to Gore, Virginia, site of more than a few mishaps at the end of section 3. We were relieved to see that Eeyore's car was not sitting there still.
Soon, we were walking in along the Gore Connector Trail, which after a mile, reaches the the Tuscarora Trail just short of the Barclays Run Shelter. From there we walked along flat trail to Back Creek. We had been warned that we'd have to wade this creek, but it was maybe up to our mid-calves. No big thing at all, and the only interesting crossing of the section.
North of 50, well, we had *alot* of road walking to do, the longest section of the trail so far, about 10 miles. It went fast, however, as the day was lovely and spring-like, and we all chatted away merrily. We passed through a little town or two. Miles got some rare shots of the local inhabitants. Ask about "WOW PRN" and the "Rand Paul Revolution" truck. We took a break by a stream, then pressed on to reach the Basore's Ridge Shelter. We covered these 10 miles way faster than we needed to. This seems to happen to me on LM trips a lot.
Anyway, throughout the trip, we were very impressed by what great shape the TT is in, even in stretches that probably aren't walked that much. The Basore's Ridge Shelter really is a marvel, with a chessboard and carved chairs! We made camp there, and availed ourselves of MIMA's saw to make an awesome fire. MIMA himself modeled his Elmo-style Mellanzana fleece. As night fell, we spent several hours shooting glowing tents and star shots. Shuttle had brough margarita mix, from Packit Gourmet, and we all enjoyed that.
At last we slept, and it turned cooler. I was a little chilled in my 35* bag. We were up at 6am and walking at 7am. The sky was grey and overcast. Winter had returned. The TT, however, did not disappoint us on Sunday. We passed through attractive farmlands, climbing over stiles. After a quick jaunt on the roads, we entered the Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area and visited the Shockey Knob Shelter.
(It did occur to me here that, when we get sick of doing the 4-state challenge on the Maryland AT, something similar could be rigged up here on the TT. VA, WV, Maryland and PA are all very close together.)
The miles of the TT in Sleepy Creek were picturesque ridge-walking, even if spring had not really sprung yet. We soon arrived at the cars, about 1:30pm, having walked splits of 10 and 16. Matt and Sara both showed themselves to be fine backpackers and great companions. We reversed the shuttle and headed into Winchester and the Union Jack for a celebratory lunch. From there, home!
Thanks, everyone, for the great trip! We're about halway through the TT, now, and we are ideally positioned to complete the south part of the trail, cross Maryland, the Potomac, and the Mason Dixon line in Section 5! And then Pennsylvania!