This was a lovely weekend. I had fond memories of Sleepy Creek when I walked through it as part of my Tuscarora section hike, and thought it might make for a good low mileage trip. It certainly did.
My original plan was to have us start from the Sleepy Creek Campground and head south on the Tuscarora to the Shockey’s Knob Shelter. I wound up adjusting the starting point to the trailhead along Hampshire Grade Road, mainly because I wasn’t clear on where we could leave the cars overnight–an essential part for the trip.
This switch had us starting much higher on the ridge, making for a mild day of walking as we just had a short distance to climb. To add back some of the miles I cut, I decided to tack on a side excursion to check out Pee Wee Point–not the most notable of trails, but it led us to a great view of the valley below. We took a lunch break here, enjoying the warm sun and a break from the wind.
We made our way back to the Tuscarora. The trail throughout Sleepy Creek follows a forest road, and the wide trail allowed for the group to walk and chat as we continued along the mostly flat stretch to High Rocks and then to the shelter–although we did get to navigate blowdowns, brambles, and mud to keep it interesting.
Shockey’s Knob is one of the nicer shelters on the trail, with a picnic table and fire pit giving our group space for eating and socializing. Probably the most challenging part of the first day was finding the spring, which was a short distance from the shelter and covered over with blowdowns that masked it from view.
Spirits were high around the campfire as people traded stories. To add to the merriment, I had packed in supplies to make Oreo cheesecakes for the group and made sure to give the disclaimer that “DC UL is a very badass group of backpackers–now would you like some cheesecake?” as we prepared the bags. (Top secret recipe below.)
We all made it to 9 p.m. before settling down for the night. Sunday morning, I gave the wake-up call at 7 a.m.–just in time for us to see the sun rise over the ridge in the distance. We continued along the Tuscarora, dropping off the ridge and to the Millrace Trail only to ascend again along the White Rocks Trail back to the Tuscarora and to our cars. The sun was shining brightly on us–another good day. We wrapped up the trip with an excellent post-hike meal at the Copper Still Pub and Grill.
All in all, another good trip with a great group. Congratulations to Maddy, Justin, and Bryan for their first trip with DCUL and becoming members! You can check out pictures from the trip on our Meetup site.
TOP SECRET OREO CHEESECAKE RECIPE
- Jello No-Bake Cheesecake Mix
- Mini Oreos (snack-size bags)
- Powdered milk
- 1 Large Ziploc bag
- Hungry backpackers
- Pack the cheesecake mix. (No need to bring the crust mixture.)
- Measure out the powdered milk into the Ziploc bag–enough to make the necessary milk for the mix.
- Add cold water to the Ziploc bag with the powdered milk, and shake that bag like a Polaroid picture to combine.
- Add cheesecake mixture to the milk. Smoosh it all together until combined.
- Let it sit for at least 45 minutes or until it looks cheesecake-y.
- Squeeze cheesecake mixture over Oreos. Don’t get fancy–just squeeze it into the bag.