Many years ago I attempted to hike the Wild Oak Trail near Ramsey's Draft in the GW National Forest. Wind, rain, and near hypothermia caused us to bail on part of the trail so I decided now was the time to finish it.
After meeting Jeremy and LN at Vienna we were on way to meeting Danielle and Geena at the trailhead. They were there as promised and we were on our way by about 10:45 AM saturday. There was a bit of a chill in the air but was a beautiful sunny day. We were hiking clockwise so we had the long climb up Hanky mountain to start the day. After crossing the North River we begain the ascent which we would continue for almost 7 miles. What a difference weather makes. The last time I tried this trail you could see nothing. Now with the leaves off the trees and not a cloud in the sky you could see great views from the ridge. The trail gradually ascends we were on to the descent around 2 something. I was impressed with the views. The descent off Hanky mountain was steep in the beginning but by 3:30 we were at FR 96 for the climb up Dividing Ridge to our campsite at the top. We began the climb and I made a mistake on the way up. Our only water source was along the way. We pass a side trail to a creek but for some reason I thought I remembered the creek was closer to the trail so we kept going. It kept getting steeper and next thing I knew we were near the top and away from water. So after setting up we were forced to descend again to get water. By the time we had water and were back up the mountain it was dusk. We built a small fire and cooked our dinner. LN was the last up. During the night a bard owl felt like making some noise. The next morning the temperature was probably in the upper teens so we quickly packed and proceeded down to the North River where we cooked breakfast. Then the last climb up to Little Bald Knob started. This climb was long but gradual and we all made it up where there were outstanding views on the way. A turn and we were on our way down to the cars. All along the descent we were treated to more great views. For a while they were obscured however as a fire was burning in the valley. Luckily there was a note on the informational at the trailhead saying this was a controlled burn. We all made it back to the cars around 2 pm. Several of us stopped at the Capital Ale House in Harrisonburg on the way back. Overall I was impressed by the views I missed the first time I did this trail but you do have to work for it. Very little of the trail could be described as flat.
Good stuff, Ben.
I had a great time hiking on the Wild Oak Trail and want to go back. Maybe sometime this year. The views on Little Bald Knob are pretty neat.