A total of five DCULers answered the last minute “invitation” to backpack Duncan and Strickler Knob this weekend. The seven of us (Karan, Ram, Liz, Dmitri, Kevin, Ben and I) convened at the Route 211 parking lot on Saturday morning. We were able to make a timely start at 10am. It was a beautiful day- sunny and in the low 30s. We warmed up as we hiked the connector trail, chatting along the way. Once we turned onto the Massanutten Trail, it was all business- it always is with Waterfall. The steep climb and and beating sun prompted Dimitri to note that it felt like a summer day.
The weather was feeling anything but summery once we reached the top of Waterfall and made our way along the ridge to Q’s view. We took in the landscape and enjoyed an efficient lunch due to the windchill. As we made our way to Jawbone Gap, some of us had to keep adjusting our wardrobes depending on which side of the ridge we were on. Karan, Kevin, and Dimitri made the side trip up to Jawbone overlook while the rest of us opted for a break.
On the way down, we filled from a small stream on the side of the trail rather than the big stream at the bottom. Further down the trail we even came across a spring I don’t recall ever seeing before. Filling up early turned out to be a prudent choice; we found a large group of people camped right next to the stream.
One more climb and we arrived at Peach Orchard Gap. It was windy there but we all managed to find satisfactory campsites. A group of us made our way up to Duncan Knob in time to catch the lovely sunset. It was cold so we didn’t linger.
Back at camp, we got a nice fire going although the wind somewhat diminished its heating capabilities. We chatted around the fire until 8 or 9pm and called it a night. Overnight, the wind affected some people’s quality of sleep but no one complained about being cold! With wind and temps in the low 20s, that’s a success.
On Sunday morning, we continued down to rejoin the Massanutten Trail and hike the long, windy trail up to the junction with Strickler Knob. We were impressed with the new sign marking the junction. The view from Strickler was lovely. By this point in the day, the warmth of the sun helped offset the cold wind. After taking it all in, we parted ways with Karan and Dmitri who planned to bushwhack down to the Massanutten Trail.
We all made it back to the parking lot by about 12:30pm. Thanks everyone for joining me on this trip! It never gets old!