Tag Archives: Shenandoah

Southern Shenandoah National Park Photos

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods

IMG_0964

After a busy summer dominated by work it was high time for a weekend getaway to the woods. I’ve come to love the subtle beauty and rich woodland experiences that characterize any trip to Shenandoah. We had booked a wonderful cabin – High Laurel Inn – for the weekend. Situated on the edge of the National Park (the back fence of the property is the Park boundary!), it was the perfect spot. We could hike from our doorstep.

caption

Our home for the weekend

IMG_1066

The front of the cabin

Day 1: 14 September 2013 / Paine Run Trail and Trayfoot Mountain Trail Loop / 10 miles

IMG_0952

The leaves are turning; fall is on the way

IMG_0966

On the Appalachian Trail

The halfway point of the day’s walk was also the most spectacular viewpoint, the summit of Blackrock mountain:

IMG_0982

A contender for the best vantage point in the Shenandoah National Park perhaps?

IMG_0991

Me and Lexi on the summit of Blackrock

IMG_3444

Blackrock mountain summit panorama

IMG_1000

Onwards to our next summit, Trayfoot Mountain

IMG_1014

Snakeskin

IMG_1020

Yogini Lexi showing good form on the shoulder of Blackrock Mountain

IMG_1025

My own attempt

IMG_1044

Hairy caterpillar

IMG_1045

Beware of the Yellow Jacket Wasps on Trayfoot Mountain – I was stung 4 times after stepping on a ground nest on the trail. I can tell you they HURT!

IMG_1049

Wooded mountains

IMG_1061

Sunset from the balcony of the cabin

IMG_1068

Meet the locals

Day 2: 15 September 2013 / South River Falls / 8 mile out and back

IMG_1103

On the Appalachian trail

IMG_1105

Spot the caterpillar

IMG_1164

Looking down to South River Falls

IMG_1181

Humbled by the scale of it all

IMG_1194

South River

IMG_1201

Trail through the woods

IMG_1214

Lexi finds the clearing

IMG_1225

Wild flowers

A walk in the woods II: Shenandoah National Park 2013

After the success of last year’s inaugural Spring walking trip to the Shenandoah, and with family members visiting from the UK again, it was time for the 2nd Annual Spring walking weekend in Shenandoah National Park. This year our merry party consisted of yours truly, my girlfriend Alexis, my mum and her boyfriend, Dave. After a busy start to the year, with little opportunity to escape the city (apart from an early trip to Cape Town), I was yearning to get back to basics and immerse myself in nature again.

Shenandoah1311

View west from the Jewell Hollow Overlook

Day 1: Cedar Run Falls and Whiteoak Canyon Falls loop

Walks in the Shenandoah National Park still feel novel to me, a sort-of upside-down walk for someone accustomed to starting out at the base of a mountain and ascending to the summit. Thanks to the scenic Skyline Drive, a 105 mile road along the rooftop of the National Park, most walks begin at the high point of the day before descending off the ridge.

Sure enough, today’s walk began at the day’s highest point, before descending the steep and wild Cedar Run canyon, passing cascade after cascade, and culminating in the Cedar Run Falls itself, our “summit”, if you will. Of course, reaching the “summit” necessitated a lunch stop (a habit from UK hillwalking days where folklore has it that on any given hill in Britain, in any weather, at any time of the year, one will find a fellow walker proclaiming how pleasant it is whilst tucking into a home made sandwich). Our return route climbed gently up Whiteoak Canyon, where there are a number of impressive waterfalls and good views.

Shenandoah1302

Descending down Cedar Run Canyon

Shenandoah1304

Frequent river crossings were the order of the day

Shenandoah1303

We weren’t the only ones enjoying the sunshine – a Northern Water Snake catching some rays. I seem to average one snake sighting per trip at the moment – Australia 2012 and Shenandoah 2012

Shenandoah1305

Waterfall in Cedar Run Canyon I

Shenandoah1306

Waterfall in Cedar Run Canyon II

Shenandoah1307

Toothed mushroom – Sarcodon imbricatus – in the undergrowth

Shenandoah1308

Yellow Poplar – Liriodendron tulipifera – trees along the trail

Shenandoah1309

A hop, skip and a jump and you’re across

Shenandoah1310

Cedar Run Falls – check out Lexi in the bottom right corner for idea of scale

Day 2: Knob Mountain and Jeremys Run Loop

A longer 12 mile loop traversing the ridge of Knob Mountain and returning along the valley floor, with frequent river crossings of Jeremys Run. It felt like we had the park to ourselves today; it wasn’t until we hit Jeremys Run that we saw another soul. Up on the ridge of Knob Mountain we saw plenty of (fresh) bear scat. We were all excited (and slightly nervous) by the prospect of a potential bear sighting but sadly they remained elusive on this occasion.

Shenandoah1314

The closest we came to a “view” from the wooded summit of Knob Mountain

Shenandoah1313

Robust marker posts pointed the way

Shenandoah1312

Synchronised on the balance beam, crossing Jeremys Run for the 37th time* (*best guess)

Shenandoah1315

Jeremys Run

Day 3: Hazel Falls

A shorter, rainy walk to visit Hazel Falls, described as a suitable inclement weather destination on account of the large cave next to the falls. I can attest to it being a dry and welcoming harbour from the elements.

Shenandoah1316

Lexi still smiling despite the rain

Shenandoah1319

The team with Hazel Falls in the background

Shenandoah1320

Hazel Falls I

Shenandoah1321

Hazel Falls II

A walk in the woods: Shenandoah National Park 2012

A selection of photos from our inaugural Spring walking weekend in Shenandoah National Park, Memorial Day weekend, May 2012.

Shenandoah1203

View over the Shenandoah National Park

Day 1: Along the Appalachian Trail to the summit of Mary’s Rock

Alt Text

Introducing Lexi, on the Appalachian trail

Shenandoah1202

Introducing Mum, on the Appalachian trail

Shenandoah1204

Views over Shenandoah National Park and the valley

Shenandoah1209

An Appalachian Trail hut

Shenandoah1210

Signing the Trail register

Shenandoah1211

Look bear scat! Although no sign of any bears this time.

Shenandoah1212

Shenandoah1213

View over Thornton Gap from the summit of Mary’s Rock

Shenandoah1214

Reading the guidebook to see what’s next

Shenandoah1217

On the trail

Day 2: Falls of Overall Loop

Shenandoah1234

On the trail


Shenandoah1220

A rather large snake (about 7ft long, possibly a Black Rat Snake?) blocks our way, only reluctantly slithering away after we stamped our feet for a while

Shenandoah1224

Cooling our feet in the river

Shenandoah1225

Shenandoah1228

Me sitting at the outlook

Shenandoah1229

Me and Lexi at the outlook, with Virginia’s mountains in the background

Shenandoah1230

Overall Run Falls

Day 3: Robertson Mountain

Shenandoah1241

A young deer calf

Shenandoah1237

Summit panorama from the summit of Robertson mountain

Shenandoah1243

Summit celebration

Shenandoah1248

Customary lunch break on the summit

Shenandoah1245

We had these beautiful views all to ourselves, not a soul around

Shenandoah1242

Wilting in the afternoon heat

Shenandoah1238

Soaked by a late afternoon thunderstorm, less than a mile from the car