I wanted to hike this weekend, the weather called for rain Saturday morning with a partly cloudy day afterward, at least in Baltimore. I figured I would take my chances and head out Friday evening to Shenandoah NP and wait for the rain to stop on Saturday morning. The plan would have been a good one if the rain had actually stopped, it didn't. It rained all day. I was stuck in Front Royal, VA all day with nothing to do.
Fortunately, The Royal Oak Bookshop had a good selection of books and I managed to hole up in a coffee shop reading Cather's, O Pioneers.
I drove all around Front Royal that day trying to amuse myself, I found a place where somebody had set up a very odd unofficial roadside sanctuary for black vultures and feral cats. There were little shelters and lots of cat food cans, some rather mangy cats and many full size vultures hanging out. Very neat. If you are interested in seeing this little phenomenon, email me and I will give you directions. You can get very close to the vultures as they seem as friendly as a vulture can get.
Saturday evening I parked my car on Manassas Street in Front Royal. Wouldn't you know, the local drug dealer must have lived there because people were stopping by all night running into a nearby house. The locals must be extremely tolerant because I wouldn't have put up with that noise for more than 30 seconds. Needless to say, I didn't have a restful night.
Sunday I finally got to do my hike. I try not to write about the weather but the weather was very interesting. I arrived at the trailhead off of Thompson Hollow road, the sky was clear and beautiful, perfect day for a hike. 20 minutes into my climb it started to turn misty. After an hour I could barely see 20 feet in front of me and it started to rain. Overall Run was at capacity and I had 2 stream crossing during my ascent.
The first one I took off my shoes, the water was icy cold so I was determined not to have to do that again. The second crossing was dicey but I made it. Socks stayed dry.
I got the the waterfalls and couldn't see a thing.
Here is a picture of the larger falls, I was about 40 feet away and this is the best picture I could get.
Here is my video entry for the day about the weather:
I continued my ascent and ran into 2 enthusiastic hikers, Benli and Michael. They were inquisitive and asked me about my route. I showed them on the map where I had planned to go and warned them about the stream crossings. I figured that they would get to the run, turn around and come back.
I continued on my way and reached the top of Hogback Mountain where the sun was shining again, I ate lunch at the overlook with all the cars and motorcycles.
Motor cycle groups are pretty common and pretty noisy up here. It makes it loud and unpleasant. The leaves are just starting to turn at the top of the moutain.
As I looked over the overlook I could see the cloud layer that was causing the foggy conditions on the trail, it just was hanging there at about 2500 feet. Luckily, when I started my descent it dissipated.
I was able to quickly descend on the Heiskell Hollow Trail. When I hit the intersection at Beecher Ridge Trail I met up with Binli and Michael again. Binli and Michael had succeeded in taking off their shoes at the 3 stream crossings and were headed back up the mountain to their car. I guess I underestimated those two.
I must have hiked about 14 miles with 3200 feet of elevation change. I could have easily handled another 1000 feet but the mountains are only so high and there was no way to get more mileage out of the area.