Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year's Day on Big Schloss

We spent New Year's Eve with two friends at a cabin near Strassburg, Virginia. After a night of good food, cards, and hilarity, the four of us were a bit slow to get around on New Year's morning. We made it to the Big Schloss Cutoff trailhead around 12:30. For the first of January, we couldn't have asked for better weather. It was sunny and in the 40s.

Our intent was to hike both Big Schloss and Tibbet Knob as an out and back, which would mean finishing in the dark. We made good time hiking up the cutoff trail to the top of the ridge, where we ate a little bit of lunch. From the junction with the Mill Mountain Trail, we turned south and hiked to the top of Big Schloss. There were a few people on top of the outcrop, including a group of five or six mountain bikers. We found a nice spot in the sun and took a break for food and pictures. Since we had a long way to go, we soon returned to the Mill Mountain Trail and continued south, towards Wolf Gap. After a brief climb up a small peak on the ridgeline, the trail makes a short, but steep descent to Wolf Gap Campground.

At that point, it was almost 4 p.m. Tibbet Knob would have added three miles, round trip, to our hike and we had about 90 minutes of sunlight left. We opted to turn back. On the way back to the car, we got a couple of nice views of the sunset and of Big Schloss in the fading light. Even with that, the last hour of our hike was in the dark. A great start to the New Year: 10.5 miles of good hiking.

The Big Schloss Cutoff Trail at the junction with the Mill Mountain Trail.
Looking south down the Trout Run Valley. Tibbett Knob is the peak just to the left of center in the photo.
Bootshot from Big Schloss.
Our friends and Michael on Big Schloss.
The wooden bridge on top of Big Schloss. I can't imagine the logistics of getting the materials up to the top of the outcrop, let alone building it.
Distance sign at the Wolf Gap trailhead.
Looking east at sundown.
Big Schloss from the south.
Lichens on a rock outcrop.
The Mill Mountain Trail at sunset.

1 comment:

  1. This is on my list. Thanks for the pics...looks great! Lucky to get a nice day for hiking this time of year.