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.