Blogs from Shanendoah National Park, Virginia, United States, North America


Woke up at 6 and drove north on the Skyline Drive. Stopped for breakfast at Big Meadows then drove further to Little Stony Man parking lot where we were supposed to meet our climbing guide, Andy Nichols, at 9. The pin he emailed me was for a different lot, but we found him. We hiked a half a mile to a cliff and learned how to climb. On our hike we were on a bit of the AT and learned about some plants and hiking tips. The cliff was 125’ and overlooked the valley. Andy explained about safety, equipment, showed us how to set up the rope. Max was a natural climber and climbed to the top. Andy encouraged him to keep climbing when he gets home. Maggie did great and also climbed to the top. ... read more
Max climbing
Max again
Chrissy's behind

Virginia is for lovers. So goes their state motto. And so captures the essence for one of my most magical friendships. Last weekend, my very best good friend Felicia took me down to Shenandoah Valley from Washington, D.C. and we had the opportunity to hike along one of my most beloved trails in America - the Appalachian Trail. I felt like we were living Bill Bryson's and Stephen Katz's adventure in the hilarious classic, A Walk in the Woods. Only we had company with our other best good friend, dog. Let me state right here and right now that it has been my dream for ages to hike along the AT in Virginia. Shenandoah is dubbed one of the most beautiful parks in the United States, and with good reason: I was absolutely astounded at how ... read more
Panorama on peak
Luray Caverns

Trent and Denise planned an overnight stay for us all in the Shanendoah Valley at the National Historic Village, Harpers Ferry, where the majestic Potomac River cuts through the Blue Ridge. In the force of these rushing waters George Washington envisioned military strength and chose this site for a U.S. Armory. Factories from the early 1800s witnessed innovations that fueled the Industrial Revolution. It was here abolitionist Johm Brown struck a blow against slavery and soon the Civil War trapped the town between North and South. With a beautiful balmy day on our arrival on Friday, the marked change in temperature on Saturday was a bit of a shock. Beanies, warm coats, scarves and boots saved us as we walked around the village taking in the history of this significant site. After our climb up the ... read more
Original Rail Tunnel
The Point overlooking the Potomac River Junctions

Ever since I found out we were moving to Virginia, I have been excited to see the Fall Foliage! Heck, even before moving here I had longed to visit in the Fall to see all the wonderful colors! We live within a few hours drive of Shenandoah National Park, which is absolutely gorgeous in the fall! The weather here has been cloudy and rainy, and not the best for photos, and the Government shutdown had the park closed. This weekend was the first it was open. Unfortunately, the leaves didn't get the memo and they changed anyway. They are a bit past their prime, but there is still gorgeous sights to behold! We got lucky with a sunny day on Sunday, so I got J out of bed and we headed for a day trip to ... read more

The next morning, Friday, the 28th of September, we drove back to highway 94/30 and then followed the early morning traffic through interesting old villages and residential areas with modern shopping centers here and there. After crossing the Maryland border the road was just numbered 30 and after about 50 miles it dropped onto Interstate 795 toward Baltimore. We exited toward Randallstown and then took the back way into Columbia to visit Paul and Christina for the weekend. On Tuesday morning, October 2nd, we left their home in the pouring rain and drove mostly on the freeways to Gaithersburg to have lunch with our Aunt and Uncle. After a nice lunch, we drove around DC proper to Interstate 66 and headed towar... read more
1012-2 Shenandoah NP--Hazel Mountain Overlook
1012-3 SNP--Jewell Hollow Overlook
1012-4 SNP--Stink Bug invasion (Rosie's back window detail)

A Brief Tour of US history from Jefferson to the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement We began this tour driving from Washington, DC, heading west to Waynesboro, VA via route 29 passing the Manassas Civil War Battleground with its open rolling hills and pre revolution wooden fences edging the hillsides. This lovely area will be explored further on our next trip north. Our introduction to the Shenandoah Valley ended up in clouds and late afternoon darkness on our drive down 340 from Front Royal to Waynesboro. The beginning of the drive was scenic but it got dark too soon on the sharp mountainous winding roads making the trip to the Speckled Trout B&B more exciting than I would have wished. Our B&B hostess Kay talked us through town of Waynesboro and even ran down ... read more
Our room at the Speckled Trout B&B
Breakfast at the Speckled Trout
Swannanoa Marble Palace

The next leg of our journey could not have been more different from our previous stretch of city hopping. In Washington DC, Ben and I hired a car for 10 days in order that we may drive through the Appalachian Mountains and down some of the east coast. We hopped into our VW Beatle (which I aptly named Ringo!) with great enthusiasm and set off on our journey. We began by driving the Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park. This was a 105 mile drive, which redefined our idea of 'scenic route'. We were constantly treated to spectacular views and this was arguably the most impressive 'scenic drive' we have ever completed. We were immediately forced to test out our brakes when two deer innocently wandered across the road. The leaves burnt bright red and orange, ... read more
The scenic highway
Drinking water?
Ringo and I!

Our second hike of the day was the Black Rock trail. This is another easy trail of only about a mile round trip. The trail begins with a gradual ascent but soon becomes level and remains level for the rest of the loop. The mountain drops sharply away on the right and is heavily wooded until the peak. Here the view opens up. Other than lichen nothing grows on the rocks both above and below the trail. On the far side of the loop there are a few gnarled, stunted trees. Because of these gnarled shapes they are beautiful to see. Several birds were whirling, dashing and diving through the air. Nancy thought they were Kestrels. Their speed was amazing as was their maneuverability. I tried not to be jealous. It must be wonderful to be ... read more
Walk carefully!
The jumbled peak
Rocks, rocks all over the top

well we made it to shanendoah national yesterday. cara is adjusting. joDan and i are back in the swing. im short of time at the moment. but check out either cara's blog or joDans. read more

Continuing north on the Blue Ridge Parkway, we stopped at the James River Visitor Center and walked around some. Next we stopped at Yankee Horse Ridge to see Wigwam Falls. When we stopped at Humpback Rocks Visitor Center they were setting up for a musical afternoon, but we were there only for a stamp on my National Park Passport and a sticker that read "I drove the entire Blue Ridge Parkway." Then it was on to Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park. We stopped at Loft Mountain for fuel and while I was getting my passport stamped, we watched two deer stroll across the parking lot. We saw lots of deer along the Skyline Drive and looked for black bear, but were not lucky enough to see any. We headed to Big Meadows Campground, which ... read more
under the James River bridge
Wigwam Falls
Yankee Horse Ridge

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