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Current Week's Information

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on May 23, 2021 at 4:54:07 am


MRATC Activities and Information, Week of May 23 – 29, 2021




No trail work is scheduled for this week. Work hikes will resume after Memorial Day.


ATC’s  new COVID guidance, released 5/11/2021:






The hike listed for Grayson Highlands State Park on Monday, June 7th  has been canceled due to leader’s injury and may be rescheduled later in the summer or fall. The next hike (Elk Garden to Whitetop) will be Monday, June 21st. Details to follow later in June.


Hikes can be scheduled on a week by week basis rather than listed in the club’s quarterly newsletter. If a club member wishes to lead a hike, reply to this email and it can be listed in the Sunday email and on the club’s website the week of the hike (www.mratc.org under the Sidebar, Current Week’s Information).


Trail Days:  The Trail Days festival in Damascus May 14-16 was a great success: good weather  and lots of people came, glad to finally be able to enjoy a festival. Thanks to all who helped staff the club’s booth.


Damascus Trail Center:  Interior design planning continues. The relief map is expected to arrive this week (Shipping weight 270 lbs.) A soft opening will be scheduled for later this summer, after some exhibits are in place.


Wilderness Skills Institute (online classes): Register: https://wildernessskillsinstitute.org/2021wsi/


American Hiking Society Volunteer Vacations includes Grayson Highlands in June and Hungry Mother in October in our area this year. Many other options elsewhere in the U.S.




Latest issue of the ATC’s The Register: 




 Grayson Highlands St. Park and adjacent area map (Avenza maps app) free download available:  https://www.avenzamaps.com/maps/1204147/grayson-highlands-state-park.


Virginia AT license plates:  $15 of the $25 annual fee goes to the ATC VA Regional Office to support the AT – including the new Damascus Trail Center. If you would like to order one, go to this section of the DMV website:



Outstanding AT hike videos: A member of the Tidewater AT Club who knows a couple who are section hiking and have made and posted a series of videos, passed along the notice of the You Tube posting, so we all can enjoy them. They are wonderful videos! Go to You Tube and search for “Campfire Confidential” to select a few to watch.


Current MRATC information is also posted on Facebook:  Mt. Rogers Appalachian Trail Club (MRATC), on Twitter:  twitter.com @Mt_rogersATC, and on Instagram.com:  mountrogersATclub. 


AT Community Update:

Three AT Communities hosted webinars about their trail communities. You can watch and listen to the videorecordings by pasting these links into your browser:

Roan Mountain: https://youtu.be/UeZXOZPtQaw

Unicoi: https://youtu.be/MpawM6TGwjY

      Damascus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5VvZmg-tm4&t=7s


Visit the ATC's website for information and hikes in AT Communities up and down the AT, listed by state.

In our area, the AT Communities are Damascus, Abingdon, and Marion/Smyth County. 




Grayson Highlands State Park Backpackers' pkg. lot reservations:https://www.reserveamerica.com/explore/grayson-highlands-state-park/VA/140172/35528/campsite-booking


The bridge at Comers Creek Falls has been removed as of 3/20/2021. Steps and stepstones have been installed  so a low-water crossing can be made and this section of the AT from Dickey Gap south has been re-opened. During times of suspected high water, hikers should plan to use the marked detour on Rte. 650.


Bears:  In 2019 and 2020, there were fewer reports of bears taking hikers' food than in 2018, but bears could come back to try to get food from hikers, especially if they are cooking. Hikers are urged to use the metal bearboxes for overnight food storage near Saunders Shelter, Lost Mtn. Shelter, Thomas Knob Shelter, near Rhododendron Gap, Wise Shelter, Old Orchard Shelter, the Scales, Hurricane Mtn. Shelter, and Trimpi Shelter. 




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