Monday, May 10, 2010

Double Springs Shelter May 6, 2010

The Double Springs shelter is a bit more of a hike than the Watauga Lake Shelter. The distance is only 2.5 miles one-way but has some long, boring, straight, up hills. At least the walk back is easier. Drive up Tenn 91 from Elizabethton, up through Stoney Creek, to the Johnson / Washington County line and you'll find a nice parking area ready made for hikers. You want to go north bound which is across the highway from the parking. Southbound is across the side road and comes in from behind you.

Here we are in the first weekend of May and the leaf canopy is still filling in on Cross Mountain. The sun was up, the trail bright, the birds active. Of note, were squirrel corn and May apples. We also saw bluet, showy orchis (but not yet blooming), and a few Turk's cap lily just starting to bloom.

The shelter is smaller than Watauga, Vandeventer, or Iron Mountain. Coming from the other side of the lake, it's about 2 miles from Rat Branch on US 321 on the other side of the lake to the Watauga shelter, then 2.5 miles or so on to Watauga Road, and then straight up hill 5-6 miles to Vendeventer, and  another 8 miles to Iron Mountain. From Iron Mountain it's smooth going for 5.5 miles to Tenn 91 and then on to Double Springs and US 321 again, down the hill all the way to Damascus about 20 miles from Double Springs.

We met two hikers at shelter and one came in later. We encountered a fourth on the trail. The two had been out 60 days (March 4 start) and Double Springs is about 450 miles. That's 1600 miles to go and 6 months of hiking left. Volume on a given day is not any sign good or bad business on the trail. You'll see batches and then no one.

Trail Days in Damascus, Virginia is May 14, 15, and 16, 2010. 


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