GET Section 4b Trail Report

September 18, 2009

 

 FDR 87 (Little Dry River Road) to US 33 (10.3 miles)

            This section is along the Hall Spring Road, along the west side of Shenandoah Mountain, just north of US 33.  Most of this road is gated, except from early October to early January.  We had a sunny, comfortable day, high in the 80’s in the valley.  With me were my hiking partner Nancy, GET president Tom Johnson, my dog Sid, Nancy’s dog Aslan, and Tom’s dog Sam. 

            Some observations:

  • We came up FDR 87 from the West Virginia side.  The only sign for it was the (87) sign once you were on the road—no WV road sign, no street sign.  It is a one lane gravel/rock road.  It isn’t too bad—not too many puddles or rocks sticking out, but there are six creek fords, which are steep dips into larger rocks.  The second in particular was bad, with a steep rise after the creek, then a quick leveling out.  This is not suitable for normal low-carriage cars, so our shuttle after the hike took a different, much longer route. 
  • FDR 87 on the West Virginia side is called “Rough Run Road” on the NG Trails Illustrated Map, but I’ve been informed that it is called the “Fort Seybert Road” by the Forest Service.  There’s no sign naming the road. 
  • The gated part of Hall Spring Road has just been re-excavated, and is rather even, although fairly soft-we had to walk in the treads of the excavating machine.  We saw the machine near the end of the hike.  When it is open, it will be a much better road to drive on than FDR 87 on the west side. 
  • There are some confusing places following the ungated (northern part) of Hall Spring Road.  These are to be noted in the guidebook.  Most other forks are private roads. 
  • Hall Spring itself is not visible from Hall Spring Road.  It is actually a pond on private land. 
  • This area is popular for hunting with dogs.  We encountered several pickups with caged dogs in the back.  Also, there is a house just before the gate closing the road which had 22 dog houses, apparently a hunting cabin.  No people or dogs were there at the time. 
  • The hike was quite easy, and we made very good time. 
  • We were fortunate that the day before there was a little rain in a dry period.  This kept the dust down, but the road was not muddy.  There would be a few puddles in the ungated part, but with the new excavated part, there would be no puddles in the gated part. 
  • At the end of the road, it comes out on US 33 about 0.1 mile west of the trail parking area.  There is only a little room for walking on the north side of US 33; less on the south side. 
  • There were just a few blueberries still on the bush, but only along the ungated part, so there was some dust to wipe off.  There are blueberry plants along the gated road, but none had berries still on. 
  • There was no poison ivy along this hike. 

 

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