My lovely wife dragged me back up to Roanoke, so I packed my running shoes. I planned to get up on Saturday morning, go for a big run, return to the house, then take the kid for a kid sized run. When I told the kid my plan, he disagreed. Telling me that I should take him on his run first, so I would not be too tired to take him later.
He was actually excited about going, and I would gladly give up my run to run with him, so I scrapped my plans. We got some breakfast, and headed out the door to enjoy some time in the woods.
We parked at the Tinker Creek Greenway and headed up the smooth single track to the ridge. We hung out and on the ridge for a few minutes, enjoying the view of Carvins Cove before heading back down. 2.4 miles on the trail and not one complaint from the kid. Turns out he is pretty excited about trail running and is making plans for future runs. Awesome!
I parked at Bennet Springs parking area and headed down the pavement onto Happy Valley Rd, before taking a left on Arrowhead, and then a left on Sawmill Branch to the Appalachian Trail.
|Sawmill Branch where it intersects Arrowhead|
The trail went up with little relief all the way up to Tinker Cliffs. I was not exactly sure that was on the right trail, but I knew that the direction was correct, so I plodded on. The sun was well up in the sky by now, and I realized that it would be setting in about 5 hrs. If something went wrong, if I sprained an ankle, I could be out here after dark. Something to consider and take it easy.
I ran on. Up, and reached the AT. It was a pretty vague intersection, the first right after leaving Lambert Meadows heading north on the AT. I left plenty of arrows so that I would not miss it on the way back.
Then the real climbing started. Up the steep final pitch, a real butt burner, I was working tired muscles and they were letting me know. Made me look forward to heading back down when I could work another set of muscles!
|Bridge to the shortcut around Tinker Cliffs|
I stayed for a few minutes, chatting with some hikers and soaking it in.
|Tinker Cliffs, looking South to McAfee Knob|
|The Catawba Valley|
|The Goat Path|
Tinker Cliffs is everything that I heard it was. Next time I'm going to follow the lead of some other hikers up on the rocks taking a nap!