I’m in love with this place.
It’s sad and awesome that it’s one of the least visited national parks in the United States. Sad because people are underrating how beautiful it is [especially in the fall!] and how amazing the hiking trails are. Awesome because you never have to worry about bottlenecking or loud obnoxious crowds.
This go-round I connived my dad into hiking Little Devil’s Stairs trail with me. I’m pretty sure [aka he flat out told me] he only agreed because our country club was having a golf tournament so the Weekend Blitz wasn’t being held. Hey, I’ll take what I can get.
The last hike I went on was full of breathtaking views with plenty of overlooks just itching for a photo-op. Little Devils Stairs was a little more private and enclosed. We were in the woods the entire time, and it was only because I snuck off the trail a little bit that I was able to get the shot below. The first 2 miles or so were a steep climb up about 1,400 feet of incline, and then it leveled out for the remaining 3.5 miles back to the car. I took a lot of ‘photo breaks’ during the first 2 miles. Read: I was dying and I needed a breather so I pretended to want to take a picture of something. “Oh wow look at the moss on this rock!”
Shenandoah hasn’t failed me yet: it was calling for rain on Saturday, and we drove through some random bouts of downpour but we didn’t feel a single drop during the hike. The weather was perfect with low humidity, a light breeze, and the sun even poked out every now and then!
I find it a little ironic that I enjoy going hiking so much, especially because most of my weekends are spent trying to escape the farms and country life of St. Mary’s county, but I love it. Most of my experience with nature at home involves me viewing from afar in the driver’s seat of my car, so I guess I like to escape because I hardly ever get to enjoy it. The Bay, the [few] hiking trails, the farms. None of it is easily accessible when the humidity drives me into the gym, my bike has seen better days, and our lack of owning a boat. Instead, I opt to do more driving in order to seek higher ground and use what I do have: healthy legs. For me, the long drive is a small price to pay for what you get in return: serenity [now! Seinfeld. Anyone?]. When you grow up having the nearest mall an hour and a half away and the closest Target [that wasn’t built until I was in high school] is a 20 minute drive, 3 hours is a piece of cake.
I can’t wait to go back. I’m thinking Fall. Once the leaves have changed and it’s a red/orange/yellow paradise. Tryna come with??