Final camping weekend in Shenandoah Park

2014-10-26-Shenandoah-53A few weekends ago I went down for an overnight in Shenandoah National Park. It was the last weekend that the park was open for camping. Unfortunately I had to go down without my best hiking buddy, he’s still not doing great, definitely not up for mountain scaling. I wanted to try and get down for some of the leaf peeping. I think I was about a week too late for optimal photographic beauty. I still had a great time, went on 2 amazing hikes, first thing at sunrise and another shortly before sunset. In the morning I stumbled upon a place called Rapidan Camp. I 2014-10-26-Shenandoah-13knew nothing about it or that I was even going to end up there. Turns out this was the home of President Hoover. I was there first thing in the morning, nobody else around. There is a small museum there and the presidents actual home is still there by tour only. A nice older couple came walking out to greet me and asked if I wanted a tour of the presidents house. It wasn’t on my agenda of things to do that day, I don’t find presidents interesting in the slightest, but how could I turn down a private tour. It ended up being a very interesting and informative hour. I never would have imagined enjoying that time so much. I have never had a favorite president before, but I do now, President Hoover seemed pretty great. Anyone that would live in Shenandoah must be OK.

I did not take too many pictures and unfortunately did not get anything that I am crazy about. HERE are a few of the better ones:


This is who to read about

If you thought the Winter Carnival 2012 was even remotely interesting, then this is the family for you.

I met this family last weekend in Shenandoah National Park. A young couple, there 7 and 9 year old daughter and son, and their dog. All 5 of them hiking the entire 2200 miles of of the Appalachian Trail! Amazing.

Keep it up Kallin Family!Appalachian_Trail

Shenandoah National Park May 2014

Pictures are HERE, boring diatribe is below.

2014-05-Shenandoah-358Last weekend Charlie and I spent a boys-only, long weekend camping in Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive. Wifey was heading out of town to scuba dive, and I wanted to find something fun for Charlie and I. He had never been camping, or even slept outside. Pretty lame for a supposed wild animal. I wasn’t sure how it would go, or if Charlie would hate me for this, but all went fairly smooth. A secondary purpose to this trip was to test out and break in my new camera.

2014-05-Shenandoah-99We packed up and headed out from home at 3am. We were inside the park by 6am, the booths were not even open yet. There was a sign in the windows that said, “Welcome, please pay when you leave”. By 7:30am we were geared up and out for our first hike. The weather on Friday was a bit rainy and very cloudy and foggy. There was no sunrise to speak of. Most people would have been unhappy not to be able to see anything from the vista points. Where Charlie and I were, in the woods, walking along the river, the mist and fog added to the overall ambiance and experience. The first hike was amazing and mind blowing. I couldn’t believe how nice this park was. After the first hike we had a nice breakfast and went to find our campground. In short time we had our tent set up and completely modeled our new home for the next couple nights.

Later that afternoon we did another circuit hike to a beautiful vista. After dinner we drove out to a pull off on Skyline Drive to watch the sunset. After being mesmerized by the campfire for a while it was time to see how sleeping in a tent with Charlie was going to work out. It went OK, he was a bit tentative, but realized that I would never do anything to hurt him.

The next morning we were up for the sunrise and then off to a waterfall that we discovered the day before. I wanted to get there before the sun came up and try to get photos of the waterfall in action. A total of 3 hikes this day. On the second hike at the summit we ran into a young couple from Harford County. I told him I lived near him, from Cecil. His response blew my mind. He said, “I figured you were close to me, I saw the Hillside on your car.” 200 miles from home. We finished the evening by hiking out to the edge of the park to watch the sunset. After the sunset we hiked back in the dark with only the light of a headlamp and keen canine sense of smell possessed by my pack leader.

The next morning we woke, made breakfast, and headed home. At the park exit I needed to stop and pay my fee, since they were not open when we entered. The ranger was shocked that I actually stop to pay, said they do not have this happen very often. It was an amazing, rejuvenating, refreshing, perfect life resetting weekend. I can’t wait to go back, I forgot how much I enjoy camping. Pictures HERE.

Yep, there is a bear in that tree

Definitely a new highlight for me in my life. Spent a long weekend in Shenandoah National Park with Charlie the Dog. I can’t wait to find time to write about it more, and go through my pictures…pictures taken with my brand new camera, my prize for winning a photo contest a few weeks ago. I had to get through these pictures ASAP. I saw a bear in a tree, him go up and down a couple times. Amazing to watch nature happen in front of me and not murder me. Here are a few pics.