Monday, May 02, 2011

Overnighter in Shenandoah National Park

On Friday two friends and I went backpacking in Shenandoah National Park in Northern Virginia. Greg also brought his Golden Retriever, Phoebe, who was a sweetie.

Hey look, a map!

We started at the Elkwallow picnic area, heading south on the Appalachian Trail until we hit the Neighbor Mountain Trail, which took us up and over the summit of the mountain. On the other side we got to the bottom of Jeremy's Run and set up camp. All told, about eight or nine miles for the day.

On the AT itself, we met three section hikers. Section hikers do only a part of the trail at a time, unlike "Thru Hikers" who do the entire length in one trip. It doesn't matter how you do it, hiking the whole length of the AT is an accomplishment no matter how long it takes. One guy was doing all of VA in April (about 500 miles), another all of SNP (101 miles), and the third was just hiking as far as he could in the time he had. Once we left the AT, we didn't see another soul for the rest of the day.

Jeremy's run was beautiful, but the night was a little colder than we'd anticipated (mid 30's). Even so, everyone slept warm.

The next morning, we ate and broke camp and started up Jeremy's Run. In fact, the very first thing we had to do was cross the stream to get to the trail on the other side. Greg decided to do it barefoot, but was complaining of numb feet on the other bank as he put on his socks and shoes.

The water in Jeremy's Run is really high and moving right now. The trail crosses the creek "at least a dozen times" (more than 15 I think) and a lot of the rock hopping that might be possible later in the Summer was just wishful thinking. Ice water is refreshing, right?

Being one of the more popular trails in the park, Saturday was like an interstate on the trail. One hiking group of at least 20 passed, five or six fishermen went by and all told there were easily 50 others we met or who passed us. I'll admit it, I was envious of their tiny day packs. Especially since the almost six miles back to the car was 90% uphill.

Oddly enough, I only saw one squirrel and a few birds. There were plenty singing away in the trees, but not many visible.

It was beautiful, we had a great time and I learned a few things about myself, my gear and packing (we all brought way too much food).

Photos here, and I'll update with another link when Alan posts the pictures he took.


sheri said...

Beautiful spot. "Hey look a map" made me snork. Love your dry humor, dude.