Thursday, September 18 – Boy has it been foggy each morning. We like to get an early start each day, especially days when we want to do a hike. If we waited for the fog to burn off, we wouldn’t be leaving until about 9:30. This is what it looked like this morning at about 8:30.
We decided to increase our hiking mileage today. We hiked one part of the New River Trail. When we planned the hike we didn't realize it was a former railroad route (Rails to Trails) making it a very easy hike on a smooth graded surface. This trail is accessible for hikers, bikers, and horseback riding. The entire trail is over 50 miles long. It begins in Pulaski, VA, and follows the New River to Galax, VA.
We began our hike at the Shot Tower Historic State Park. Built in 1807, it stands 75 feet tall. Beneath the base, is a lower shaft dropping an additional 75 feet to the river level. Hot lead was dropped from the top of the tower 150 feet to a large kettle of water at the bottom. The long fall was thought necessary to properly mold the lead into a perfectly round sphere. According to research and tax records, it was the first factory to mass-produce shot on American soil.
Back to the hike.... We followed a path around the Shot Tower to some stairs leading down to the trail. We hiked from the Shot Tower to Austinville, a distance of 3.6 miles and back for a total hike of 7.2 miles. As stated earlier, this is considered an easy hike, although we haven't hiked that far for several months so we had enough by the time we were finished.
There were mile markers along the trail, so it was interesting to clock, time and distance. We were surprised it took us 20 minutes to travel a mile. Three miles per hour. We were a little deflated, thinking we sped along at about 4 miles per hour....and that was on a FLAT surface....JEESH!
There is one neat tunnel we passed through and an abundance of beautiful scenery.
We were happy to have the trail almost exclusively to ourselves. We only saw one bike rider and one additional hiker the entire morning.
By noon we returned to our car and were headed back to the campground.
One more day, here in Wytheville, VA and we have an interesting side trip planned. So check back and see where we are headed.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y’all back real soon. Have a great day!