It's funny how our brains play little tricks on our memory. When I hiked the trail yesterday to Jones Run and Doyle's River, I was convinced that I hiked there almost exactly a year ago. On checking this morning, it was actually two years ago. I gave a very detailed account of that hike on a foggy Friday at this post, including many wildlife sightings, so I won't go into as much detail here. Suffice to say, this is one of my favorite hikes, and it felt great to be back. I was with my Meetup Group, Richmond / Charlottesville Adventurers, and it was nice to hike with a group of fun people who all share a common interest. This was a particularly fun and lively group! There were 11 of us - well, a dozen actually, as Indy, a very nice black dog, also came along. She was pretty funny when all the snacks and lunches came out. I always say that a dog will give its life for its companion, but let the food supply dwindle to a single morsel, and you won't stand a chance!
My hike from two years ago include an elevation profile and a map, so I won't repeat them here. The trail loses and gains about 1,900 feet, most of the loss being in the first half and most of the gain being at the second half. Any reasonably fit person can do this hike. The distance of the hike is about seven miles. My very accurate GPS captured it as 7.0 miles a year ago. Yesterday, I didn't bring my GPS but used my new DeLorme inReach Explorer, and it captured the distance as 7.6 miles. The both use the satellite network for the tracking, so I am not sure where the difference comes from.
Here is most of our merry little group near the Jones Run Falls. It looks like three of us, plus Indy, missed being in this photo. You can tell that it is fairly cool. I am thinking that it was the upper 30's F when we started the hike. It never got extremely warm - it is November in the mountains - but it was comfortable enough.
This is part of the Jones Run Falls, as the stream cascades through a steep mountain gorge.
Jones Run Falls was falling fast yesterday. Note - the rocks are very slippery here. I actually took a tumble and landed on my butt while approaching the falls.
A waterslide runs down the steep slope.
This crystal clear pool is on the Doyle's River. All this water is headed for the Chesapeake Bay. In one pool, two very large trout were swimming - they looked to be over a foot long! That was the only wildlife I saw yesterday, in sharp contrast to the hike of two years ago here.
The Doyle's River Falls consist of a lower falls...
And the upper falls....
Several of us hiked up to the upper part of the upper falls, and a few even climbed the large rocky area in the background right.
Yours truly with the upper part of the upper falls at Doyle's River.
The waterfall splashes merrily over mossy rocks.
This was a really fun hike. On the drive out, we stopped at an overlook for the view. By coincidence, this view is the beginning of my three day hike a few years ago to Austin, Furnace, and Trayfoot Mountains. Austin Mountain is on the right, the slope of Furnace Mountain is on the left, and Brown's Gap (our first night campsite) is in the middle.
Here's a topo map view of some of the same area, showing Brown's Gap clearly running between Furnace Mountain (foreground) and Austin Mountain (background), and also showing some of the trails.
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