Definitely took my chances on finding a campsite in Shenandoah National Park on Memorial Day Weekend! Hoped coming down on Thursday before the holiday weekend was early enough. Otherwise, it was going to be a long day trip with lots of goodies in the car!
The best possible outcome would be a campsite at Lewis or Loft. Pulling through the entrance gate at Swift Run Gap, the sign stated that ALL campgrounds were open. A sigh of relief escaped me, but I was skeptical. The ranger at the gate assured me the campground would have radioed down if there were no more spots. Decided to head north to Lewis first. This was my first choice as it is a smaller, tents only, campground. Well, after circling twice and finding nothing, confidence waned a bit. I had a choice to make: south to Loft (20 miles) or north to Big Meadows (5 miles)? Yep, I went for Big Meadows figuring if there wasn’t a spot, then at least I could keep heading north … check at Matthews Arm…and if I was denied there as well, then I would just drive on out of the park and head home.
Not to worry! Big Meadows had ONE spot left! Not a great spot, but A spot. I’ll take it! Ummm…just a side note, not a complaint, full price should not be charged for this spot. It was challenging finding a flat place to pitch my backpacker tent without moving the picnic table and it is just below where all the cars park…which means you get light every time someone drives by at night!
After getting the tent pitched on a relatively flat area, I headed down to an overlook to send a text to Little Caesar, letting her know where to find me should there be an emergency. Saw my first bear at the overlook! And a cluster of stupid people…yay!
Back at the campground families were gathering, fires being lit, and music was playing loudly. *Sigh* I spread out the maps and finally decided we would finish off a micro-section of the AT I needed tomorrow, Pinnacle Picnic Grounds to Mary’s Rock. It would have to be an out and back hike.
I raised my head to look around. Hmmm, as long I as didn’t look towards those parked cars, it was kinda nice. Music wafted up into my campsite,
“But it was only fantasy.
The wall was too high,
As you can see.
No matter how he tried,
He could not break free.”