Biking the Greenbrier River Trail

Biking the Greenbrier River Trail

The Greenbrier River Trail Day One

My Loose Plan

I had a very loose plan for my trip. Start at North Caldwell, bike north for some miles and camp overnight. I knew it would take me four hours to drive to the trailhead. I didn’t know how fast I would be able to bike, weighed down with all my gear.

My Ride

This was my experiment with tent camping and hauling.

Thursday Day One

I got on the trail about 11 am.  The southern end of the trail was hard hit by the 2016 floods. The trail has been repaired and in great shape.

I was a bit surprised by all the summer cabins along the trail. In all my reading about the trail, people mentioned the remoteness of the trail.  There are cabins up and down the length of the Greenbrier River. There are probably cabins about 70 miles of the 78 mile trail.

cabin along the Greenbrier Trail

Campsites

I felt fine cruising by mile 13, then 26.  There was water around mile 28, and I was evaluating where I wanted to stop for the night.   Should I stop at mile 38? I decided to go on to Mile 40 campsite.

Prisonprison sign

I was surprised to see a sign for a prison, then I saw the gleaning of the barbed wire.  view of the prison from Greenbrier River Trail

Tired

Just a short distance, later I found my home for the night. It was a bit damp, as there was a nice babbling brook that fed into the river.

I was exhausted! It was a hot day out there, I wasn’t in prime biking shape, and I had been awake since 5am.  I was in the tent by 7 pm, and pretty much asleep soon afterwards.

Night Time Wake Up Call

I woke up at 115 am to the sound of a scream. Not one scream, but numerous screams. WTF is going on?? The screams are very much like the enraged zombie-like soldiers in the movie 28 Days Later.  Is there a convict loose from the prison? Is there a meth addict going crazy in the woods?

I am terrified. I know that sounds dramatic. But I was. I have no idea what is happening outside my tent. I glance at the phone and instantly make it dark. I do not want to attract attention to my green little tent…in the middle of nowhere…where there is a crazed individual SCREAMING in the woods outside.

What to do? I briefly think of jumping on my bike and riding down the trail. But I don’t know where “THEY” are. Are there guards hunting for this crazed individual? Is that voices I am hearing, or is that the babbling brook near by?

This is kind of what it sounded like:

It may have sounded again. Then it stopped. I am still sitting upright in my tent. I can’t sustain this until daybreak, so I lay down again. Now that my heart rate is dropping a bit (I hope) I think, well, maybe that was a screech owl. What do screech owls sound like? Maybe it was a bird. I’m right on a river, there are probably owls, eagles, loons all sorts of birds around that scream.

I fall asleep.

I live to face another day. It was a bit chilly at 6 am, so I donned my rain poncho just to keep the body heat in while I drank some coffee and savored being alive. Then it was time to saddle up Myka, and head on down the trail!

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