Tim McElhannon is a lifelong explorer and adventurer who can frequently be found hiking the Appalachian Trail east of Lexington, exploring the trails of Rockbridge County, and cycling the roads and trails in the area. He grew up in Atlanta and his family spent their vacations and many weekends in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia building a small cabin on the Toccoa River, where his love of the outdoors was born. After graduating from the University of Georgia, he was commissioned in the U.S. Navy and reported to flight school in Pensacola, Florida.
During a 24-year career as a Navy pilot he traveled to over 40 countries and hiked in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. His final tour in the Navy was in the VMI Naval ROTC unit and upon his retirement in 2004 he became the Director of International Programs at VMI where he worked until his final retirement in 2012.
In August-September 2012 he and his wife, Cathy, hiked the 500-mile Camino de Santiago from France across Northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela and then on to Finisterre on the Spanish coast. In 2013 he thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine and in 2014 he and Cathy returned to Europe to hike the 250-mile Portuguese route of the Camino de Santiago. He has hiked most of The Long Trail in Vermont and many trails within Great Smokey Mountains National Park. He is an experienced trail maintainer and volunteers with the Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club and with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in the Smokies.
His future adventure plans include a four-week Himalayas trek in Nepal in 2016 that will include a visit to Everest Base Camp and in 2017 a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail - hopefully with Cathy.
Through seeing the beauty of the natural world in far off places his love of the trails near his Rockbridge home is reinforced. For Tim, hiking House Mountain or the Chessie Trail, only a mile from his home, provides a quick escape from the pace of normal life and are part of his regular routine. His favorite Rockbridge hike is Little House Mountain, where he enjoys crawling around and climbing on the boulders along the ridge. His ideal micro-adventure is an overnight campout on Little House Mountain where he can see the lights of Lexington in the distance.