I met up with some old college roommates for their annual camping/trout fishing trip to the Jackson River this past weekend. Not being an avid fisherman, I took the opportunity to do some mountain biking in the George Washington National Forest.
After arriving around noon on Friday and setting up camp, I hopped on the bike for a little exploring. I wasn’t expecting to go too far so I didn’t bother with maps or GPS. I wound up on the single-track section of the “Hidden Valley” trail which parallels the Jackson River. It eventually connected with some double-track and seemed to continue on indefinitely – so after 5 miles, I turned back, crossed the river on a suspended bridge, and returned to the campground for a beer.
Saturday morning I decided to ride the actual “Hidden Valley” loop described in the book “Mountain Biking Virginia” (ride #35). It’s a nice 15 mile loop that begins on Forest Service roads before connecting back to the double and single-track that I rode the previous day. Some of the single-track was a bit too technical (rocky, rooted, and unforgivably perched on the side of the mountain) for my tasted, so I wound up walking about a half-mile section.
On Sunday, I headed over to the Buena Vista Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway for the “Blue Ridge Dirt Ride” (#40 in “Mountain Biking Virginia”). It’s a nice 15 mile loop on on Forest Service roads with only the last 3 to 4 miles on the Parkway. As you can see from the elevation profile, the ride starts with a 1000 feet descent over the first 4 miles. Now that’s “commitment”.
A great time spent with old friends, good mountain biking, and topped off with some fresh trout cooked on the grill. Not a bad way to spend a weekend.