On Saturday, I volunteered at Catherine’s Fat Ass — a VHTRC race in South Massanutten. The after-party included great beer, wild salmon, and great company, as expected! We stayed overnight in Harrisonburg, VA.
Sunday morning, we were at Little Grill for breakfast when they opened at 9 a.m. This place has, hands-down, the best pancakes and local, organic breakfast that you will find in all of VA. I can’t imagine that there is anyplace that can beat them. They are so hippie, that not only is their food local and organic, but they’re also a collective. Their coffee is mediocre, so after breakfast we went to the local co-op for coffee to go.
We went back to the course to hike a portion of the Fat Ass. You can find these directions and a map on hiking upward. We parked at Catherine’s Furnace and started right away on the purple trail — which all the runners hate. It was muddy and we saw a bear cub just a few miles into the hike. The trail was empty (maybe from the rain?) and we only saw a few other people on Sunday. The trail climbed gradually with a steep descent to the forest road (the orange marked South Massanutten trail).
The forest road was long and quick, though tough in the sun. This hike is definitely best for winter or a cool, cloudy day. Pitt Springs comes up quick on your left (where we were stationed on Saturday). The spring can be found across the footbridge, hidden in the rocks, right next to the stream. You can see water bubbling up from the ground. I’ve drank out of this spring several times with no problem!
From there, the orange trail heads up to the Overlook trail (also on the left and clearly marked) and back down to the spring for another few miles on the forest road (which is a usable, gravel road). Cars came up pretty quickly on us, so I’d suggest staying alert. At the fork, make sure you take a left to get back to the furnace.
While it was a quick 10.5 mile hike, the forest road could be a little dull. If you want to check off every VA hike on your list, go ahead, but nearby Fridley Gap is definitely the better hike.