Hike Report – Roaring Branch Trail

Tim Schaefer Reporting
Hike date: 12/19/2015
“It will be a tough hike with all of the downed trees and overgrown brush.” As said by Vic Hasler, or something close to that. He wasn’t too far off. Roaring Branch Trail is an in-and-out 8mi hike and a mostly uphill climb from the road to the overlook. Not having any takers to join me, possibly partly due to the below-freezing morning that was forecast, I decided to bring the dogs with me. They’re two Great Danes often mentioned in trip reports, Zoinks! and Beetle. The wiki was right. The parking area is not much more than a narrow gravel shoulder on a curve of Business 23/Roaring Branch Rd. It made for some nervous dog wrangling as trucks and cars zipped by us. The light snow cover and brisk morning, to me, was perfect for a weekend hike. Several sections of trail as warned by Vic have some significant downed tree sections. Some were simple hop overs, others could be walked around, several required climbing over and under patches of downed logs. I didn’t have too many problems, but my four legged companions had some more difficulty. A few times I thought we would have to turn back, but we eventually found a way through the mess. Also difficult were the stream crossings. Roaring Branch was flowing quite well. This was the dogs’ chance to show off an easy passing while I struggled to find a rock hopping path but managed to keep my feet dry. We made it to the High Butte overlook and enjoyed lunch. I noticed that the yellow blazed trail does continue past the overlook on the right. I thought about exploring it, but with a family out home and two tired dogs that normally spend the day napping on their bed I saved that for another day.

Falls at the trail head
Falls at the trail head
Zoinks! inspects a massive blowdown
Zoinks! inspects a massive blowdown
Who would pass up a chance to hike on a morning like this!
Who would pass up a chance to hike on a morning like this!
Beetle admires her believed kingdom
Beetle admires her believed kingdom
View south from High Butte overlook
View south from High Butte overlook
The repercussions of eight miles of hiking for our beasts of comfort.
The repercussions of eight miles of hiking for our beasts of comfort.

Hike Report – Purchase Ridge at Natural Tunnel

Tim Schaefer Reporting
Hike Date: 12/13/2015

The Zimmerman family joined us for this 3.26mi hike on Purchase Ridge Trail at Natural Tunnel State Park. It was a great late fall day and fun was had by all. The trails were in good shape and the views of the tunnel were fairly clear to see with the absence of foliage. As luck would have it, shortly after starting our return we hear a train whistle in the distance. The trail head is a little hard to find with no clear parking area near by but the detail on the wiki was good enough to get us to find it. Since the campground was closed we parked at the camp store, but it’s not clear where you would park in the summer months. Having fun was the Schaefer Family (Tim, Carrie, Jamie, Bob, Josie and dogs Zoinks! and Beetle) and the Zimmerman Family (Yuyan and Frankie).

purchase ridge

F/B: Natural Tunnel, Purchase Ridge Trail, Sunday, December 13, 2015

Leaders: Tim & Carrie Schaefer, 423-302-0846
Rating: Family/Beginner

Come on this Family/Beginner hike to view the Natural (Train) Tunnel in Virginia. The plan is to depart the Colonial Heights meeting location at 12:30 and be at the trail head and on the trail by 1:30 pm. Prior contact is not required but is appreciated so we know to look for you. Contact hike leaders Tim & Carrie Schaefer for caravan or carpooling, 423-302-0846, timcarrie@tehcc.org