Fullhardt Knob is part of the AT that passes through Botetourt County. There is a shelter, outhouse, and water source on the second peak of Fullhardt's coming from Route 11. It was once a fire lookout for the surrounding mountains and community. A gentleman that has lived here for over eighty years told me that he remembered as a boy going up the mountain and an older man named Bage Shay lived in the lookout cabin during fire season as the lookout. He recalled Mr. Shay showing him a nine-foot pine snake that he had killed up there.
If you climb the cut-in trail from Mountain Pass, you can still see the remnants of the communication line for the lookout. The cabin is no longer there but there is a shelter. The mountain that was my great-grandfather Gibson's is part of two peaks that is considered Fullhardt. Fullhardt is the last name of a family that once lived in this area.
My great-grandfather bought a large amount of property in this area to farm. He left his family of moonshine and prostitutes behind in Franklin County and started fresh with his wife and children in 1905. He was the father of my grandfather. In the 1930s the mountain was taken for the creation of the Appalachian Trail. He was given a little money for it and was able to keep the field at the foot of the mountain, in which he grew tomatoes. There was a cannery over the hill and one around the corner.
When I first moved back from Florida there was a lady in her sixties who kept squatting at the shelter and the town would try to get her to leave. She had been in politics in Georgia and lost her mind. She would sometimes claim to be a queen. My cousins even put her on a bus and sent her home to her family but she returned. People would see her hauling her groceries from time to time up Fullhardt Knob. I can't recall where I got this picture but this is a picture of her.
I created this list on the Ward Haven Camp website. There I also included a few maps and more information so take a look at www.wardhavencamp.com/hiking.html
Some of these trails are not for young kids so do your research!
Hoop Lower & Upper in Craig Co.
Mill Mountain trails
Belfast to Devil's Marbleyard
Rt. 11 to 220
Sarver's Hollow in Montgomery County
Meadow Creek Falls in New Castle
Dark Horse Hollow
James River State Park
New River Trail State Park
Cedar Creek Falls
Big Rock Falls
St. Mary Falls - Staunton
Explore Park trails
Bottom Creek Gorge
Sharp Top and Flat Top - Peaks of Otter
Spec Mine Trails
Blackhorse Gap (to Camp Bethel)
Andy Layne Trail
Buzzard's Rock (Read Mtn)
Greenfield Trail System
Blue Ridge Springs Trail Loop
McAfee's Knob (one of the harder trails so plan ahead but the view is worth it)
Woodpecker Ridge - Troutville
Apple Orchard Falls
Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve
Waid Recreation Park
Smart View Loop - Ferrum
Craig Hall has thru hiked the AT, the PCT twice, the CDT, Long Trail, John Muir twice, Foot Hill Trail and worked in Yellowstone National Park. He currently travels the country as an ENO rep and is an awesome photographer. Listed below are Craig's recommendations of what to take on a day hike.
1 Footwear is the most important thing. A good trail running sneaker like Montrail, Brooks, New Balance, Vasques, Solomon,...
2 Shoe Inserts - I prefer Super Feet.
3 Socks - merino wool
4 Trecking Poles
Under layer - short sleeve of natural fiber
Base layer w/ hood
Outer layer - fleece with zipper
Outer shell - raincoat (Gortex)
Same idea for your bottom half (swim trunks, tights, fleece pant, rain pants)
6 gloves, fleece hat, ... depends on the weather
7 polarized shades
8 30-35 liter pack (Granite Gear, Lowe - if you are taking a big camera)
10 bug spray (doTERRA's Terrashield and Lemongrass in a spray glass 4oz bottle)
11 trowel and toilet paper (always burry your waste 6" below)
12 head lamp
14 map and compass
16 water and a filter if you will be out all day (Sawyer)
18 eno hammock and straps, of course. :)
19 I take a camera and tripod everywhere I go. There is always an opportunity for great pictures in nature.
Check out my facebook page for some of my photographs.
By Michelle Gill