Shenandoah National Park

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??



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