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After ascending the Indian Ladder out of the Dan River Gorge, thru hiker Gene Espy turned and took this photograph of the Pinnacles of Dan from the Northeast rim of the Gorge. Espy was the second person to successfully complete a hike of the entire trail in one season.
As he passed through the Dan River Gorge in July 1951, Gene Espy took this photograph of what he called "Growed over trail, Virginia" (on the reverse). The image was taken near the famed "Indian Ladder" that took hikers into or out of the Gorge. Espy was the second person to successfully hike the entire Appalachian Trail in one season. The image also gives a clear sense for how poor trail conditions were in 1951.
The Dan River Gorge as seen from the summit of the Pinnacles of Dan, July 1951. This image, taken by Gene Espy during his thru hike -- the second successful thru hike of the Appalachian Trail -- offers a sense for how steep the drop was from the summit of the Pinnacles to the river below.
This photograph was taken by Gene Espy during his 1951 thru hike of the Appalachian Trail from the Jones Knob lookout, possibly from the fire tower that used to stand there. Espy was the second person to successfully thru hike the trail and likely took this photograph on July 1, 1951.
The Bell Spur Primitive Baptist Church in Meadows of Dan, Virginia, was an important landmark for hikers on the Appalachian Trail in Patrick County, Virginia from 1930-1952. The Trail passed directly in front of the church and, if one was hiking southbound from Meadows of Dan, turned right toward the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Parked at Lover's Leap overlook in Patrick County, Virginia, sometime in the 1930s. Lover's Leap was a popular stop along the Appalachian Trail in Southwestern Virginia between 1930-1952. It is on Highway 58 near Vesta, Virginia, just above the headwaters of the Dan River, and affords spectacular views to the north and east.
John R. Barnard (right) leading a hike in the Dan River Gorge, August, 1936. Barnard was the man responsible for laying out and maintaining the Appalachian Trail in Patrick County, Virginia from 1930-1952. He regularly led hikes along the Trail and throughout the Dan River Gorge throughout this period and continued to do so long after the Trail moved 50 miles west.
This map depicts the Appalachian Trail between Fries and Damascus, Virginia in 1941, including the crossing of the New River at Dixon's Ferry. This original route of the Appalachian Trail was abandoned in 1952, when the Trail was rerouted west into the Jefferson National Forest to the route it follows today.