New Castle, Virginia, United States
Recently my brother and I attempted to do the 36 mile triple crown loop we backpacked to Mcafee's Knob, then went through Tinker Cliffs, Catabwa trail to the North mountains coming down from the north mountains we opted to take the Ferrier and Lick Branch trails. We were on day 3 at this point and getting low on water. We had not seen any since the streams at Andy Lane. We we hoping completing Ferrier and Lick branch trails would bring us out to a busy road where we could hitch to the Dragon's tooth trailhead. What ended up happening Ferrier trail was not fun, all the streams were dried up. We pushed on to Lick Branch trail. Lick Branch trail u s the absolutely worst maintained trail I have ever been on. Most of the trail was blocked by debris, brush and leaves. The markers were horrible! We found water. Lots of it whoever designed the trail had a sick obsession with stream crossings, many actually very difficult no exageration we must have crossed no less than 30 streams. Wet feet is any backpackers nightmare even though we never got wet trying to follow the trail, scramble over a ton of fallen trees, poorly marked trail usually blocked or coveted made the experience extremely miserable and slow. It is pretty easy to get disoriented and you waste a ton of time hunting for markers. We finally made is through and hiked in to an extremely small town called New Castle where everyone seems to know everyone. The locals are not friendly with backpackers. We were even harassed by a cop while we grabbed a late 8pm dinner. He came to our table asked a bunch of questions and made it very clear he did not want us staying in his town overnight. After already putting in about 16 miles that day With no cab service, no hotels we had no choice but to hike 18 miles back to the Mcafee Knob trailhead. We thumbed up to hitch a ride for the next 18 miles but no one would pick us up. We hiked past the Dragon's Tooth trailhead to the car afraid there would not be any water. By the time we got to the car it was about 4am we were too tired to hike any further or set up camp. We had put in 18 hrs of hiking and covered roughly 34 miles that day. We did drive to Dragon's tooth trailhead and completed our loop and was rewarded with a rainbow at the top. Our total trip in 3.5 days we covered about 61 miles. Whatever you do don't go to Lick Branch trail!