Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cahas Mountain: you say kuh-hoss I say kuh-Hayze

Blue Ridge Country

"The highest to which man can attain is wonder." ............Goethe

Cahas Mountain Summit - Virginia Mountain Peak Information

Cahas Mountain is a mountain summit in Franklin County in the state of Virginia (VA). Cahas Mountain climbs to 3,553 feet (1,082.95 meters) above sea level. Cahas Mountain is located at latitude - longitude coordinates (also called lat - long coordinates or GPS coordinates) of N 37.11736 and W -80.015592.

Anyone attempting to climb Cahas Mountain and reach the summit should look for detailed information on the Cahas Mountain area in the topographic map (topo map) and the Callaway USGS quad. To hike and explore the Virginia outdoors near Cahas Mountain, check the list of nearby trails.
Peak Type: Summit
Latitude: 37.11736
Longitue: -80.015592
Peak Elevation: 3,553 feet (1,082.95 m)
Nearest City: Boones Mill (4.8 miles away)
View Cahas Topo map here info from here.

A different kind of mountain

Compared to many of the peaks that surround the Roanoke Valley, Cahas (it's pronounced ka-HAZE) is unusual. The mountain is utterly rural, unlike peaks closer to Roanoke, which suburban sprawl is gnawing away. A threadlike Wade's Gap Road climbs and descends Cahas with serpentine twists and hairpin turns. At midday on a Saturday, hardly any cars passed us on our way up the mountain or, a bit later, on our way down.

There's a good chance Cahas will stay that way. In 1996, the federal government designated the mountain a Rural Historic District; since then, little seems to have changed. Cattle pastures claim most of the Callaway (south) side, and apple orchards dominate the Naff (north) side. The gaps of land between the occasional farmhouses are large and open.

The mountain had fleeting fame, back in April 1996, when it separated the men from the boys during a 113-mile stage in the Tour DuPont. Lance Armstrong, who in future years would win two (update from Shellie - he's now won SEVEN) Tour de Frances, won that particular race from Mount Airy, N.C. to Roanoke. Cahas was the first of two tough mountains the cyclists climbed before wrapping up the race in downtown Roanoke. The other was Lynville Mountain.

More recently, Gabel, his hand-built home and the amazing stone tower have put Cahas in the news. In a story last year, the 47-year-old bachelor told The Roanoke Times' that he's put about $19,000 into it. That doesn't include the thousands of hours he spent collecting the rocks from a nearby creek and hauling them up the mountain in a beat-up car, or building it. When it's complete, he plans to let families and married couples use it.

"The greatest purpose I have for this is to bring people together,'' he told the newspaper. As a teacher, he says he sees the harmful effects of families whose members don't communicate and don't spend enough time together.

Gabel is a quiet and friendly guy who doesn't seem to mind visitors and likes to show off his unusual work. When we stopped along the road at the top of the mountain to rest, we couldn't see his tower through the trees. But he could hear us talking, and shouted an invitation to visit. It was the highlight of the ride.

The ride
From Roanoke, take U.S. 220 south to Boones Mill. We parked on the side of a small road directly behind the Texaco gas station and convenience store on the right side of 220. Bethlehem Road intersects U.S. 220 here, and it's where you'll begin the ride. Warning: the first three miles of the ride has hardly any shoulder and a fair amount of traffic. But the cars thin out soon afterwards. There is one convenience store on the left at around the 15-mile point.

Information from Karma of Cahas by Dan Casey

From the Virginia Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 139 Cahas Mountain Overlook. The scenic route to Cahas Mountain from The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast is via Grassy Hill Road - Grassy Hill is the small mountain you can see from our parking area or from The Cascade Room or Sierra Suite (better known mountains). It is approx 11 miles to Cahas Mountain in Boones Mill from Rocky Mount. If you don't plan on riding or climbing it, I suggest you view it especially in the Fall for some jaw dropping views. Virginia will do that to you - take your breath away!


Life is too short for bad coffee... Shellie @ The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast in Rocky Mount Virginia

Top fall pic courtesy of Sean Pecor his blog is here.