2021 Tuscarora Trail – Day One – Shockeys Gap Shelter

Tuesday, 18 May

Destination: Shockey’s Knob ShelterToday’s Miles: 6.3
Start Location: Hampshire Grade Road 6.3

First a little background on the Tuscarora Trail.  The Tuscarora is a bypass route of the Appalachian Trail (AT) that is about 250 miles long. The Tuscarora runs through Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. It connects to the AT near Harrisburg and in Shenandoah National Park (SNP). At one time it was considered a possible alternative route for the AT if right of ways could not be aquirred in northern Virginia.

I have day hiked sections of the Tuscarora near SNP. Bob and I were looking for a less popular trail that we could hike for five days or so between resupplies. We were able to find a section of about forty miles that had places to park at each end and shelters spaced a day apart.  We do not plan to stay in the shelters but there are usually tent sites and water near by and my only mention their hike of privies near the shelters.

Bob and I met at the Dry Gap parking lot around 9:30. From there it was about an hour drive to Hampshire Grade Road.  Parking there was on the side of the road so it took a little bit to find where the trail crossed. Changed into hiking shoes and did our final checks an and we were heading south at our first blue blaze around 11:15.

We had only a little over six miles to Shockers Knob Shelter. The trail started off wonderfully with parts even on moss, a nice change after the rocks in PA. We soon passed an old abandoned fire tower. Then about four of the days six miles were on a dirt road. Easy going with no real climbs.

We came to High Rock. There was a 0.1 mile side trail that said “Mini Knifes Edge”. Having had the pleasure to hike over the real Knifes Edge in PA few weeks ago, we passed on the side trail. Just before the side trail to the shelter was the spring about 250 feet off the trail. Bob and I filtered water and brought enough for the morning. We were at the shelter before 3:30.

The shelter is a double decker with a new metal roof. There is a picnic table and built in tables. It looks like the porcupines have been busy chewing. Overall a really nice shelter. There is a bear pole to hang our food tonight so we do not have to throw bear lines and hang our food from a tree.

A couple came by earlier. He maintains a section of the Tuscarora Trail south of where we will finish. We really appreciate the work that the maintainers do so that we are able to have beautiful trails to hike.

The weather was sunny, about 70, nice to have some leaves on the trees. Not much of a breeze but comfortable with no long climbs. All of today’s hike was in West Virginia. Before we finish our first mile tomorrow, we will be in Virginia for the next 25 miles or so.

Dinner was at five thirty. Then our debate was whether or not to build a fire.  It is a little work but there is lots of wood and it keeps us busy until dark. No fire tonight, maybe later in the week. We hung out food on the bear pole. With all the signs of porcupines, we also hung our hiking poles. Porcupines like the salt from your sweat in the handles so best not to have to worry about them when you are sleeping. Bob is exploring around the shelter and I am updating my journal.

No rush tomorrow. About ten miles with no killer climbs and it stays light after eight.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Diane says:

    Sounds like a good start, plus the weather was great. Enjoy! My “happy place” was in my garden all day. 😊

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