GET Section 1d Trail Report

May 8, 2010

Hampshire Grade Road to Siler
      This is Section 1d of the Great Eastern Trail and Section 13 of the Tuscarora Trail.  This was a mostly clear, windy day with temperatures in the 60s.  It had rained a little before the hike and plants were wet in the early part of the hike, but vegetation in this area was light.  This was a PATC led by Christopher Firme; also with us were Ed from Hagerstown, MD and my dog Sid. 
      Some observations:

  • It is hard to find the Tuscarora Trail on the Hampshire Grade Road.  It doesn't help that the identifying sign says "Beacon Trail" on the south side.  This is the Tuscarora Trail.  Parking is only on the north side of the road.  
  • Road numbers on the roads north of Siler (on the shuttle) can be confusing.  It starts as VA 690 (Howards Chapel Road), and VA 682 comes in from the right (just south of the intersection with VA 671 (Shockeysville Road) but also continues ahead (right from VA 671), replacing 690 as the road #, which goes into WV as WV 45.  
  • The "abandoned fire tower" is referred to elsewhere as a beacon.  It's still standing, although the shed under the base no longer has a working door.  It is still climbable on the ladder.  
  • The trail is in fairly good shape, not too overgrown.  A lot of it is forest road, nearly all of it north of the High Rock Trail at mile 4.4.  Near Shockeys Knob there are more blowdowns, most not too obstructing, and many have paths around them.  South of Shockeys Knob, there are a lot of greenbrier vines starting to reach in.  
  • There are some spots that remain muddy, even with standing water, even after a month of dry weather.  They were easily enough walked around, but in wetter weather, it might not be easy.  This is north of High Rock.  
  • We saw the "Little Knife Edge Trail", but it has not been cleared for some time and is overgrown with poison ivy.  We climbed up for some views, but didn't follow it far.  
  • The side trail to Shockeys Knob Shelter follows an old road a ways, but then turns onto a hard-to-see path.  We found out if you miss this turn, the road reaches the shelter, just a little longer.  
  • The guidebook description near the bottom of Shockeys Knob is not the way I'd describe it.  It mentions crossing some woods roads, several of which are evident, but at different angles than "crossing".  Then the trail follows an open dirt road to a crossroads, and makes a left turn (not mentioned at all in the guidebook).  It follows that road, then leaves it as a footpath, crosses the road, and continues on as a footpath.  Has this been rebuilt since the guidebook was written?  
  • The Shockeysville Road (VA 671) is a lightly travelled road--we didn't have anyone drive by us as we hiked the 1.6 miles.  There is no parking allowed at the trailhead, but there are some places closer to Little Brush Creek where there is room on the sides of the road for parking, a lot closer than Siler.  After Little Brush Creek there is a long hill.  
  • There was a little poison ivy throughout this hike on the trail, not reaching into the trail.  On the road walk, there was a lot more.  It can be necessary to step into it if a car does not pull over to allow you to stay on the road.  Fortunately, all the drivers we saw gave us room, even if they were going pretty fast.  
  • I came away from this hike with one tick. 

Guide for this section

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