Sunday, February 10, 2013

Corbin Cabin

Corbin Cabin
Nicholson Hollow
The Potomac Appalachian Club runs and owns several cabins scattered along the Appalachian Trail (see map here). These are all mostly primitive cabins with no running water or electricity. Most also require travel on foot to and from the cabin. Reservations can be made by calling (703) 242-0315 Mon-Wed 7-9pm or Thurs-Fri 12noon-2pm. Reservations are a two night minimum and the keys are either mailed to you or made available for pick-up at headquarters at 118 Park ST SE, Vienna, VA 22180. For more information on these cabins check out the PAC's information sheet.

So a friend of mine researched the PAC cabins and booked Corbin Cabin in Shenandoah National Park for a group of 9 of us for a weekend. This specific weekend ended up being very very cold with weather announcers over using the phrase "inclement weather." Unfortunately, the phrase "inclement weather" usually leads to Shenandoah NP closing the entirety of Skyline Drive. Even more unfortunately for us, this meant that the 1 mile hike from Skyline to Corbin was no longer an option and that the 4 mile hike from the Old Rag parking lot was our only option. This would have probably been fine if we had actually gotten on the 4 mile hike to begin with, but I read the map wrong and we got on Corbin Hollow Trail instead of Nicholson Hollow Trail. So the moral of this story is: look at your map before getting on the trail, i.e. "don't be stupid."
So we parked our car in the Old Rag parking outside of the park and hiked up to the upper lot, in the process completely missing the trailhead for Nicholson Hollow Trail which we passed up on the right (in retrospect, there is a large sign for it). So near the Old Rag Fire Road we hopped onto Weakley Hollow which connected us to Corbin Hollow Trail (which was the wrong one). Not only was this the wrong trail, but it added at least 2-3 miles onto our hike and involved an elevation gain of about 3,000 ft thanks to the nearby Robertson Mountain Trail (circled in red on the map). All in all, it was a very cold (about 18-19 degrees) and very steep hike. It took us from about 9am-1pm, but our packs were heavy and we weren't prepared for the length and elevation gain.
River Crossing

The following day hiking back we took the correct trail (Nicholson Hollow). This follows Hughes River so it is fortunately very flat, but there are at least 5-6 river crossings (green arrows on the map). In the summer or spring with Keens this would be no problem, but it was snowing and February (and the water was quite high), so a slip into the water would have been less than pleasant (and potentially dangerous). Also, crossing streams on uneven snow and ice covered boulders with 30+ lb packs on is not easy. All this being said, we did a fairly decent job and only got our feet wet [A quick tip, if you find yourself crossing streams in the winter with only one change of socks on hand, duct tape and trash bags make very good boot/tennis shoe liners]. 

1 comment:

Jennifer Mckingley said...

So I think summer would be perfect to go there. Thanks for sharing. I wish to book a trip sometime.