Wednesday, October 3, 2012

More Shenandoah

Now for more Shenandoah National Park. We woke up early Wednesday morning, bright-eyed and bushy tailed, after a better nights sleep. There was no loud rain drops to keep us awake throughout the night.
 We made a quick breakfast and went on our way south to the other end of the park for our first hike of the day. It was such a beautiful day, I am so glad Andrew convinced me to stay another day. The weather was perfect, and we could now see more than two miles out from the overlooks!
 We decided to do a section of Riprap trail, according to our Falcon guide: one of the prettiest hikes in the park...
 Really, the coolest part of this hike was the ~.4 miles you walked along the Appalacian Trail, I took some pictures next to the white blazes, but I looked like a dork.
 The best thing about this hike was the views, you'd hike for a bit, come to a clearing with some rocks, and could see all the mountains in the distance.

 Here is the end of the first leg, to Chimney Rocks. Not exactly what we expected, but once again, the views were great. We hiked just a bit further but decided to turn back.
I'm not sure about this being a "pretty" hike, the views are great, but you walk through the woods for most of it.
After that we went back north to check out the #1 falls in the park, Dark Hallow...which, from my post not the same thing. The first day was White Oak trail, I got confuzzeled, so eventually I'll go back and change the other post.
 Can you see me being silly behind that tree? Andrew was taking a picture of something and said I was in the way so I took a step to the side to hide behind the tree but stuck my head out : )

 Dark Hallow Falls! Very pretty, and a much busier trail than the others. It's relatively short, but it's almost straight down...and what goes down, has to come back up.
That was it for hikes...but I have to talk about our amazing campground.
 Those are my new boots! I love them. We stayed at Lewis Mountain campground the whole time, all sites are first come first served, so we were a little worried. But we drove the loop and campsite 18 was perfect.
 Across the road the first night, there were two small campers, but they were gone by the time we got back from our hike on Tuesday, and so was everyone else on our side of the campground. The loop is split in half by a hill and in the middle are the restrooms, we were the only people on our side. It was so wonderful.
18 is definitely the best in the campground, it's the largest and has the most trees. We turned our tent away from the road so we had even more privacy.
We weren't able to have a real fire until Wednesday night, and fire we had! Andrew chopped a bunch of wood, while I sat there.
That night I made foiled potatoes. Potatoes, sausage, carrots (mushrooms for me), olive oil and spices all put into a foil packet and cooked over the fire. It was really good!
 It never fails, cold and fire make me look like a jolly Santa Claus. But, I gotta say, I was pretty jolly while drinking up our hot cocoa before bedtime. : )
The sky finally cleared too and the stars were ah-mazing!

The next morning, we had to leave : ( But, the bear signs finally came true and on our way out of the park we saw a bear! He was super cute, too! It looked like he just woke up because his hair was sticking up funny, like bed-hair, or bear-hair (har, har...I know).
This is actually when we were leaving, we never got a picture of the sign on the way in.
Shenandoah is beautiful. Andrew and me both like how most of the features involve several miles of hiking, which for when we were there meant small crowds. It would be interesting to go during a busier time to see how many people hike the trails.
Busy or not, this place was beautiful and we cannot wait to go back. But next, we're going camping in Great Smoky Mountains National Park!

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