A couple of weekends ago I finally decided to go back to the Seven Sisters Trail here in Wytheville VA. I’m continuing to try to get in shape and I figured there would be no way better to prepare for the rigors of the upcoming hunting season than getting out in to the mountains. I didn’t want to soil any place that I was thinking of hunting with my scent so I figured the SST would be a great place to get some work in. The trail is listed, as being 4.8 miles but the way I went it was unofficially 5.6 miles. I started at the Seven Sisters day use area and traveled around to the campground at the other end of the trail and just took Krenning Road back to my truck. The round trip was unofficially 8.1 miles to my best estimations. Below is the official description of the trail from the DGIF website.
Elevation: 2578 ft. The 4.8-mile Seven Sisters Trail passes through a variety of terrain including mature white pine stands and rhododendron thickets. Early in the morning, the mossy forest is often cloaked in a mist, giving the area the feel of an uncharted, foreign world. As one explores the trail under the massive white pine, be on the look out for birds such as ruffed grouse, wild turkey, woodpeckers, flycatchers, warblers and other woodland passerines”
The DGIF description starts off wrong because as the picture here shows the elevation actually goes to 3310 ft. With that being said, I had a great hike/walk/run and some of the climbs were incredible work for getting hunt ready! I kept telling myself on every huge uphill “No Burn, No Earn” and it kept me going every time I wanted to stop. If I was not hurting, I would not be getting stronger, thus my “No Burn, No Earn” motto! I knew that if I quit and rested then I was not getting the kind of work I needed to conquer the hills while hunting. Along with the sheer effort of getting to your stand, you have to climb up to it, and the biggest work out of all is getting the deer out of the woods. While the hiking I was doing was no picnic I knew dragging a deer out by myself could often times be twice as demanding. While the trail was tough some of the time it was beautiful all of the time. In less than a month now I’ve lost 10lbs and I’m convinced that I lost 5 of it on this hike alone. I don’t want to sound like this is a hike for sadomasochists only, because it’s not, but someone in less than optimal shape would have to walk it slowly instead of trying to jog through as much of it as I did. Truth be known though, I certainly did more walking than jogging myself. Another great aspect of the trip was that it was a great chance for me to try out my new running shoes! I had just bought a pair of Adidas Falcons and they held up awesomely. I’ve been having a big problem with shin splints and I never had the first leg problem through the whole journey.
Seven Sisters, as stated above by the DGIF, does feature a variety of terrain. From flat ground, to shale rock pathways, to seemingly huge climbs up steep banks, you really do get to test yourself. Also, I heard a turkey, saw a snake, and had various levels of encounters with a variety of wildlife. I really want to go back next year after hunting season has wound down and take the trail slower so that I can really appreciate all of the beauty that it has to offer. However, I also plan on running it as fast as I can and really using it as a training ground as well. It’s a great area to enjoy nature and get in to hunting level shape at the same time and I hope to become a regular visitor. So, if in the future you see some bald fellow with a Mossy Oak backpack come whizzing by, don’t be offended I’m just training for my favorite sport!