Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 32
Walkers can now walk next to the New River in Virginia and West Virginia,
following the path of Mary Drapler Ingles .
New Mary Ingles
Trail Follows Pioneer
Some 260 years ago, a starving frontierswoman struggled southward along the New River. She'd escaped the
Shawnees who kidnapped her, and was headed home.
Mary Draper Ingles was rescued in Virginia's Giles
County after following the river nearly 450 miles.
Ingles' story has spawned a book, a play-and now
Hikers can retrace Ingles' steps for seven miles on the
new Mary Ingles Trail along the New between Glen Lyn,
Virginia and Shumate Falls. The trail was recently designated part of the Great Eastern Trail, a 1,800-mile hiking
trail running between northern Alabama and western
New York state.
"The land still looks like what Mary probably saw.
She could have ducked under these cliffs for shelter
and eaten pawpaws here," says Ralph Robertson, who
constructed the trail with the Narrows Now Trail Club.
The path, which runs through U. S. Army Corps of Engineers land, is primarily a hiking trail, although mountain bikes are allowed. The riverside path continues into
West Virginia's Bluestone Wildlife Management Area,
where it passes three campgrounds and ends near Hinton, West Virginia.
"The West Virginia section isn't blazed," Robertson
says. "You just do what Mary did-follow the river."
Evening begins to
gather along the
Trail before a moonlight hike.
Hiking by the
Light of the Moon
Pocahontas County, West Virginia claims some of the
clearest, quietest night skies in the East. Cass Scenic Railroad State Park is helping folks learn to be at home under the night sky through its monthly full-moon hikes.
"Full-moon hikes encourage people to get outdoors
at night," says Monica Fleming, Cass activities coordinator. "We usually hear frogs, bugs, sometimes owls.
We might see fireflies and sometimes larger animals like
deer. You never know."
Hikers who want to learn what goes bump-or chirp
-in the night join Fleming's monthly hikes. The walks
depart from the park's visitor center at dusk. Hikers
stroll through the century-old logging town and along
the Greenbrier River Trail. Full-moon hikes are free and
open to everyone who can walk three miles, including
dogs on leash. But flashlights, lanterns and other light
sources are not allowed.
"Shining a bright flashlight can diminish everyone's
night vision for 30 minutes," Fleming says. "So refrain
from shining. We'll let the moon and stars do that."
Fall full-moon hikes are Oct. 5, Nov. 4, and Dec. 3. To
register, call Fleming at 304-456-4300, extension 111.