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Ramsey's Draft entrance sign,
© 2000-3, tjd
We were hiking over long July 4th 2000 weekend to an area near Harrisonburg, VA, called Ramsey's Draft (See our topo map of the route - warning! HUUUGE file [1264k]). It was not a hike for the topographic faint of heart, unless you're from the Rockies. We had over 5000 feet of elevation changes, probably much more, going up and down ridges and valleys in Virginia and West Virginia. It was truly a good walk through the woods. On longer hikes one gets to see a lot more of an area than one would on a weekend (well, not those who can cover 30+ miles on a weekend, which I really can't yet [2002 update]). We hit four peaks (Sand Spring Mountain, Reddish Knob, Little Bald Knob and Tearjacket Knob [Nat and Mickey also went to Hardscrabble Knob]), and at least two river valleys (Camp Todd on the Little River and Ramsey's Draft).

April 2000: Mist hanging over Ramsey's
Draft, a local term for stream. © 2000-3, tjd

We started, after looking for the trailhead for a short while, on the Timber Ridge trail to Reddish Knob and camped near the springs below Dyer's Knob after a bit of a night hike. It was a bit of a soggy location, but we were dry enough, and the springs provided plenty of water. Our only difficulty was trying to hang our food (it always seems to happen, I don't know why). This time, the problem was the parachute cord breaking on us and Mick had to climb a tree to rig something up.

April 2000: A large, blown down tree. Some here are
over 500 years old!. © 2000-3, tjd

The next day, we took the route that followed the ridgeline (not the alternate on the map) to Little Bald Knob. There were a lot of small meadows along the route, which were quite pretty, and a good number of them had small ponds nearby. From the top of the knob (over part of the Wild Oak Trail, a National Recreation Trail) there was a nice view, and then we went downhill, waaay downhill. It was almost painful, dropping close to 2000 feet in about 2-3 miles. Lunch was at a place called Camp Todd, and we dipped our feet in the river, which was a great feeling. As it was growing close to sunset (we break camp way too late!), we took the uphill (another 2-3 miles) to Tearjacket Knob, again some at night, near where we stayed on the night of April 15th.

April 2000: Jerry's Run, a tributary
of the Draft © 2000-3, tjd

The view from our camp on Tearjacket
Knob in April. © 2000-3, tjd

Monday we broke camp late again to take the last leg uphill for a short while and meet up with the trail to Hardscrabble Knob. Some of us just hung out there, Nat and Mickey went to the top. From there we dropped down into the Ramsey's Draft valley and followed the stream to the parking lot at the base of the trail. From our lunch spot at the point where Jerry's Run flows into the Draft to nearly the end of the hike, we were rained on, sometimes heavily. I took no more pictures from that point, as I had to pack up the camera and didn't take it out again. I wish I could have said that the rain cooled me off, my rainjacket kept all the heat in nicely! No matter how you slice it, however, it was a wonderful way to celebrate Independence Day, by get to see some of this great land up close and personal [2003 update: Spent July 4th sailing!].

What makes the Ramsey's area so special are the rare virgin (old growth) stands of Eastern Hemlock, Tsuga canadensis, which
Sierra Club, Blue Ridge Group
PATC info | Trail Pixie | survey
Finally went back, Sept 2003
Near the Wild Oak Trail: April '01 | Sept '02 | Apr '04
are disappearing fast because of the voracious wooly adelgid, an insect that feeds on the needles and kills the trees within just a few years of infestation.

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All photos in this site, except where specified, © 2000
(earlier where specified) tjd, all rights reserved.

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Last Updated: March 6, 2001
© tjd