shenandoah rivers

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Shenandoah National Park - part of the Blue Ridge province of mountains uplifted when Africa slammed into North America to complete growing Pangaea. Surrounded by valleys that host the Shenandoah River, this long linear park features a single road, Skyline Drive, that can take you almost the whole way across.

This is a short time-lapse video highlighting the best locations in Shenandoah National Park. The park is located in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia and encompasses part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s one of the most beautiful national parks across the United States and is known for it’s scenic drive, Skyline Drive, that travels all the way through the park. Shenandoah has everything from cascading waterfalls to spectacular vistas. I hope you enjoy the video and go check out Shenandoah for yourself to find your own spots!

6/17/17

Almost half way through 😊. Just got off the north fork of the Shenandoah river. Paddled from Waynesboro to Front Royal in a canoe 🛶. The 96 mile paddle usually takes 6 days but our ambitious group did it in 5 days. A Taking a zero today to regroup and will hit the trail tomorrow. Plan is to make it to Harpers Ferry by Thursday. This will be a significant milestone as it marks the psychological mid-point of the journey.

Time is extremely interesting. There are times when I feel like I have been hiking forever and there are other times when I feel like I am just starting the trail. The 22nd will be my 3 month anniversary on the trail. Imagine hiking for 3 months in the rain. Currently getting major thunderstorms with flash flooding in the afternoons. I have stopped wishing that it would stop raining as it appears that it is going to rain pretty much every day. Not complaining just making an observation.

Update 5/21 - through Shenandoah to Harper's Ferry, WV

“Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River.” John Denver’s famous lyrics were at the front of my mind especially as I neared the end of the beautiful Shenandoah National Park.

Entering Shenandoah, we had two or three days of rainy, cold, and windy weather which was fairly miserable. I was doing low mileage for a few days partly because of the weather, partly to help me recover from some slight tendinitis in my ankle, and because I was planning to meet my parents in the park!

Luckily when I met up with my parents, the weather cleared up and we had some perfect blue bird days! The first night we all camped together (including two of my friends Chicago and Chopsticks) and we ate foil packs made in the fire. The following day (Mother’s Day!) my parents and I did a 10 mile hike together on the AT. We were going south so we got to see a lot of the other thru hikers I had met in my journeys. That night we camped together again at a campground in the park after having an awesome Italian dinner in the nearby town of Elkton.

The next day, my parents dropped me off at the trail where we had left off and we went our own ways… Sort of. We ended up meeting up again later that night and decided to get breakfast together at one of the trail lodges the following morning! Shenandoah was such a fun park to hike in due to these lodges and ‘waysides’ interspersed throughout. It seemed like you could hike about 10 miles, stop and eat a burger at a wayside, and then keep going on your way! I basically didn’t eat any of the food I was carrying. Because of these waysides, the beauty of the park and trail, and talking with random people along the way, I was making very slow miles throughout Shenandoah. I even camped at one of the paid campgrounds at the park and then went to the lodge and listened to some live music while having a few drinks with other hikers. I can’t wait to go back to Shenandoah and experience it in different ways!

After having breakfast with my parents and doing a short hike back to the AT, I met up with them again (!) as they had set up some trail magic for other thru hikers! It was really fun to get to see them so many times and I think the trip really worked out quite well.

Also, Shenandoah is known for the number of bears in the park. I had met a local guy who comes up to the park almost every other day with the sole purpose of trying to see bears. The night before I saw him, he said he saw seven bears! He said how last year he had seen 144 bears in the park just driving along the magnificent skyline drive. When I saw him, I hadn’t seen any bears in the park yet. However, by the time I left the park only 3 days later I had seen eight including five on the last day! It almost seemed ridiculous how many bears I was seeing! It made for some very fun hiking.

Shenandoah was easily one of my favorite sections of the trail and am already thinking of different trips I could do to get back! Any takers for road biking on Skyline Drive or canoeing down the Shenandoah River?

After Shenandoah, I stayed in an awesome hostel (more like a B&B) in Front Royal, VA and had a *much* needed shower after a few very hot days. Then it was a quick 70 or so miles to the historical town of Harpers Ferry, WV.

West Virginia! (cue significantly more singing of 'Country Roads’) Harper’s Ferry is known as the spiritual halfway point of the AT. At mile 1023, it’s about 70 miles shy of the actual halfway point, but it serves as the headquarters of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and marks the division between the north and south half of the trail. It’s situated at the convergence of the great Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers and has had great historical importance. I’m currently taking a zero mileage day here and will actually stay in Maryland tonight! At only four miles, West Virginia has by far the smallest percentage of mileage on the AT compared to the other 13 states.

Anyway, I’ve talked enough. It’s super exciting to be here and I’m pumped to see what’s in store for me further up north!