If you want to see more of our outdoor adventure posts, click here! And if you’re interested, you can learn more about my experience volunteering on the Appalachian Trail.
McAfee Knob is one of the most photographed views on the Appalachian Trail. From McAfee Knob, you’ll see a nearly 270-degree panorama of Catawba Valley, North Mountain, Tinker Cliffs and the Roanoke Valley. I hiked McAfee’s as a day hike, but there are numerous shelters and campsites along the trail. If you plan it right, you can catch sunrise or sunset on the knob, which would make for some incredible images.
In my opinion, McAfee Knob is the perfect day hike. You get a big payoff for only a slightly strenuous hike 8.8 round trip hike and there’s an option to make it a loop. You’ll climb about 1,700 feet in elevation over 4.4 miles. I wore these sneakers and my feet were more than happy. On a clear day, the views are said to be the best in the Southern Shenandoah Valley. Pack a hammock and a lunch
or a single beer like we did, and hang out at the top for a long while.
This hike is about twenty minutes outside of Roanoke. Park in the McAfee’s Knob parking area. Though the trail is well worn and populated, snap a photo of the map on the information board before crossing the road and beginning the hike. Follow the white A.T. (Appalachian Trail) blazes as the trail winds its way upwards. You’ll pass a couple shelters and campsites along the way. Eventually, you’ll cross an old fire road and a power line clearing. The blazes pick up again on the other side of the clearing and after only a quarter mile more you’ll see the first good view of Catawba Valley. Another half mile up the trail and you’ll see the McAfee Knob Spur Trail. Turn left and almost immediately you’ll see amazing views.
McAfee Knob extends noticeably beyond the rest of the cliffs and there’s no way you can miss the line of people taking photos there. We walked past the crowds and explored the cliffs a little further until we found a comfortable rock bench from which to sit, chill and enjoy the view. If you have the time (and the snacks) stay until sunset. On the way back take the fire road for a much easier path down to the parking lot. You’ll also skim about a half mile off the adventure that way.
What to pack :
- Water – I only saw one spring on the trail. Pre-hydrate by drinking about a liter of water before the hike as well.
- Hammock + straps
Rules on rules :
- No camping or campfires on McAfee Knob or Tinker Cliffs
- Leave No Trace
- Leashed Dogs Allowed (although we saw a few off-leash, which is always nice)
- No alcohol
- No drones
- Max group hike size : 25
- Max backpacking group size : 10
- If camping : There are only 7 designated camping areas. Know before you go!
McAfee Knob is a very popular hike. I’m sure we bumped into nearly 50-75 other hikers along the trail and at the vista. That being said, the viewpoint and rock outcroppings are immense and there was room for everyone at the top. I noticed folks being really courteous about moving out of the way for photographs as well. I was also pleased to see that the trail and knob were mostly free of litter. Please remember to follow Leave No Trace hiking etiquette here and everywhere else.
What are weeds, anyway? I was helping a friend garden when she asked that question. She didn’t want to weed her flower/shrub beds and didn’t really mind the look of the weeds.
Weeds are the opportunists in the plant world. Spreading their seeds far and wide with the hope that something grows. And if there’s a bare patch of dirt getting some water and some sun, it’s likely that something will grow. In terms of ecological succession, most weeds are often considered a “pioneer species”; the first to arrive on a bare patch of dirt.
Success! Says the weed.
Those opportunists know that they have to act fast. Reach for the sun! Spread out those leaves! Grow just enough roots to get the water you need, because life can be short. Quick, make some seeds and let them fly!
To the gardener this can be a problem because the weeds are taking the sunlight, space, and water that should be helping your slower-growing showy plants. The ones that are putting much of their energy into beautiful flowers and the roots below ground that will allow them to come back year after year. With enough time, weeds can choke out a previously well-manicured flower bed.
Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them. -A.A. Milne
But, I have a secret, in my garden there are always some weeds worth keeping. This bunch of Queen Anne’s Lace didn’t exist when we moved it. Isn’t it beautiful? I saw them growing and turned my back. As other plants started to suffer, I transplanted them to a safer place and left the weeds alone. And now, look, this is the most prolific flowering patch in my garden.
The weeds know what they’re doing, and if left to stay, they’ll put down some hardy roots and pay you in beautiful, bountiful blooms. Success!
Each month we share our Seasoned View. Snapshots of nature and daily life taken by the Seasoned sisters. Find our archive of past months’ views here.
Katie here. Just as we’re about to head off to the beach, I’m popping in to share a view of the mountains!
You can upload one or all of these photos to use as your desktop background or even as phone and tablet wallpapers. Simply click on the download link below each photo and save the image. xo
We want to break down these internet barriers and invite you into our lives and we’re hoping you’ll do the same. You are welcome to share a bit of your week or day in the comments, or if they’re better represented by a photo, tag us on instagram @liveseasoned.
Sarah Here :
Sup pups?! Happy FriYAY! This post is a bit late, but only because the weather was too freaking fantastic to stay inside even for an instant today. I spent the afternoon doing some paperwork at Honeysuckle Tea House. I brought Cash along for the adventure, which then inspired a quick trip to the Haw River to cool off after our sunny work sess.
This week has been… standard. So I’ll talk about all the cool things I see Kate doing in Colorado. I love the insect images she captures in her garden. Katie was the one who actually inspired me to start taking photos so my heart warms up when I see her flexin’ those photo muscles on the daily. She shoots a bunch with her iPhone and macro attachment and here’s the exact camera she uses.
I had a bit of bevy envy today when I saw Katie was drinking a milkshake with homemade hazelnut liqueur, while I was still trying to get caffeinated. She’s full of great ideas. Speaking of amazing ways to insert ice cream into your day, here’s a scavenger hunt idea. I tried it with Cash, but no comprendo with that old dog.
And finally, HYGGE! I have to admit, I just learned what Hygge means from an old episode of Young House Love has a Podcast, but as soon as Sherri started explaning it, I knew immediately because it’s something I practice daily and take great pride and pleasure in. Hygge is a danish word (this website rocks at explaining the concept), but basically, “Hygge literally only requires consciousness, a certain slowness, and the ability to not just be present – but recognize and enjoy the present.”
Before I learned of the word hygge, I suppose I thought of myself as an architect of mood in my home. I take my time in curating moments of simple happiness. Waking up and playing my favorite song, walking room to room each morning to light incense and candles, putting on a teapot for coffee, sweeping the floors and opening the windows, for some reason all these tiny moments of making a space feel loved, lived in and comfortable brings about this overwhelming joy and satisfaction in the spaces I inhabit. Simple rituals carried out with thoughtfulness bring about a fullness to my every day life and to me that’s what I now know to be my hygge.
Apparently, I was indulging in the bounty of the season around the same time last year and put together this Midsummer Magic post full of other berry delicious treats. I’m seasonally predictable like that. And if you like mojitos, we also have watermelon and rhubarb variations!
There comes a certain point every summer when the mint makes itself known in our garden. It grows like crazy, and we’re treated to its sweet and refreshing smell every time we walk among it.
This is the point when I make the switch from my nightly G&T to mojitos! There’s no better sensory experience than picking the mint, smashing it with some brown sugar, squeezing the lime juice, giving it all a stir, and then taking a big sip.
Last week while I was picking mint, the boys were picking raspberries. We brought our bounty (or what was left, in the case of the berries) into the kitchen, and I was making my drink while unpacking our farm share. Inside the box was a fresh cucumber.
Happy August! July has come and gone. I feel like I’ve had enough adventures this past month that I’ll be busy talking about them all August. I’ll start today with my birthday camping trip in Wharton State Forest, New Jersey. Originally I had planned on conquering this epic hike, The Great Range Trail, but I got some pretty gnarly blisters during a recent backpacking trip in Washington, so hiking was out. Then I wanted to go to Cherry Springs State Park, but the weather looked iffy and it was a bit far north. I called Saleem, my travel partner, and we together we decided on Wharton. This is the first time I’ve camped in Wharton State Forest and if given the opportunity, I would certainly do it again.