The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Choose your own adventure

Chief Benge scout trail

The Chief Benge Scout Trail has been calling my name for the better part of a decade. It's a 21ish-mile hike (if you tack on the optional addendums at each end) that begins on the top of a nearby knob and runs down nearly to the valley floor. A fascinating high-elevation ecosystem combined with the fact that you can easily divide the trip in half added to the appeal. So why haven't I hiked it yet?

West half of the Chief Benge Scout Trail

In the first place, the logistics have daunted me a bit in the past. While the trail is very close to our farm as the crow flies, it's at least a 40-minute drive up winding forest-service roads to get to any of the trailheads. And then I started figuring in the extra time it would take to leave a car at one trailhead while being dropped off at another, and the adventure suddenly seemed like less fun.

Long-suffering husband

Enter my long-suffering husband, who volunteered to not only drop me off, but to pick me up too. How could I refuse?

High Knob tower

Oh, yeah, there is the fact that I haven't gone on such a long hike in many years. Sure, I used to log about eight miles a day while carrying a 50-pound pack as a matter of course...when I was 22. But could I still go the distance? Tune in for tomorrow's post to find out.

(In the meantime, if you're local enough to want actual information about the Chief Benge Scout Trail, here's an excellent map and description of the west half.)

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I love it. In my non gardening life, I am an ultra runner, and a 21 mile trail would be a good Saturday training run... you can do it, i have no doubt.... you go girl!
Comment by Deb Thu Oct 1 17:51:19 2015

Are y'all taking any special precautions regarding hurricane Joaquin? It seems the latest update is it's expected to track back out to the Atlantic, but there's still going to be heavy rains in Western NC and Southwestern VA, with possibilities for flooding, mudslides, etc.

In general, do you guys have preparedness plans for your homestead for inclement weather, or do you decide what needs to be taken care of based on whatever your current projects are and the state of your property and livestock at the time inclement weather is projected?

Comment by Rae Thu Oct 1 18:53:36 2015

Deb --- I've never done any running at all. I'm impressed by your stamina!

Rae --- The good thing about living next door to a floodplain is that floods are old hat to us now. If it looks like it's going to flood, we make sure not to leave the farm so we won't get stuck away from home. But otherwise, there's not really anything to plan. Bad weather just means we spend more time indoors. :-)

Comment by anna Fri Oct 2 09:52:50 2015

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