Dragon’s Tooth

Not wanting to waste a summer weekend, my father and I made plans to hike to Dragon’s Tooth.

Dragon’s Tooth is a summit just off of the Appalachian Trail (AT) in Catawba, Virginia.  The classic route is the Dragon’s Tooth trail:  A 3 mile trail which partially shares the AT on its way to the top.

Our choice is a longer route starting at the McAfee Knob trailhead and heading South on the AT until it joins with the Dragon’s Tooth trail.  This will add about 4 miles and travel along a ridgeline with ample opportunity for scenic views.  

Within our first mile, an unnatural shape catches my eye at the base of a tree.

Either we have some very advanced local woodland creatures or someone in the area has a great sense of humor.

Stopped again, we find an orange and brown turtle walking along the trail.  Admittedly I’m no herpetologist but I’ve always thought turtles lived near water.  I was a little surprised to find this one a half mile away and 700 vertical feet above the nearest creek.

Descending from the ridgeline we cross through open fields before reaching the foot of the next hill.  A few miles behind the forested slope is our destination for the day.

As we again ascend, we have a clear view down the meandering valley.

Partially camouflaged into the surroundings, a salamander warms himself beside the trail in the afternoon sun.

Parts of the trail go up as much as forward.  I love it when the trail stops but the blazes keep going.

At the top my father and I stop for a picture…

…and to enjoy the view.

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