WOW. This was my first real backpacking experience and it was great.
Shenandoah National Park, located in Virginia, is beautiful. The trail we hiked overlapped The Appalachian Trail for several miles and was a three night trip, which we did in two because of weather and scarcity of flat spots to put up our tents.
We left Ann Arbor at 11pm Tuesday and arrived in Virginia around 9am Wednesday. We stopped at IHOP about an hour away from the park and filled up our stomachs. By noon we were on the trail. We hike about 5 miles to our first campsite which was right off a stream.
The beginning of the trail and a good representation of a lot of the terrain for the first day.
Scott crossing a small stream.
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Scott's cooking is amazing for a backpacking trip :) So we ate a nice scrambled egg and hash brown breakfast and started hiking around 10am. We hiked about 6 miles this day.. passing by a hunter lodge and a really cool waterfall. When we reached the area we were supposed to stop at there was no where to setup camp. So we hiked another mile until we found a spot.
Underneath a waterfall!
Amy slid down this one on accident.. I did it on purpose :)
Shortly after breakfast it started to pour. It really came down quick and we were soaked. So all the gear got packed up wet and we started to hike.. now with our packs twice as heavy! We reached a parking lot and decided someone should go with the road and get the car, instead of completing the hike with all our gear.
So Mike and I started to jog up the road. About 1.5 miles into it we hitched a ride with a nice family, got the car, and drove back to pick up Scott and Amy. We drove to a campground, got a site, and took a shower. Then we headed to the campground store for smores and beer. Ate dinner and relaxed by the fire.
This was probably my favorite part of the trip. We decided to head to a different campground further north in the park and hike a trail called Little Devil's Stairs. It was an amazing climb up a canyon with straight up cliffs on both sides and a stream down the middle. We made it a 7 mile loop, which without packs was easy! We finished the day off with some amazing pizza from a little shop we found in a nearby town.
Little Devil's Stairs trail.. Mike followed by Scott and Amy.
It was like this going up most of the time.. for about 4 miles.
Light painting by Mike.. a cemetery we hiked by after Little Devil's Stairs.
We drove home on day five (Sunday).