Making Lemonade Out of Lemons

Hiking weekend with some great trail gals looked like it was finished before it even began. ūüė¶

A spring snowstorm had resulted in the closure of Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway. I gave Shenandoah National Park every opportunity to reopen Skyline Drive without success. It wouldn’t have mattered as much to me if we weren’t specifically aiming at hiking new Appalachian Trail miles. I seriously considered rescheduling the Air B&B. Lemons.

However, Lola, tried and true hiking friend, talked me down and so here we were at Starbucks in Staunton getting ready to embark on plan B!

Four of us headed out to find the Trimble Mountain Trail in George Washington National Forest. It was a beautiful crisp day with a fabulous blue sky and temps in the 40s. Snow covered the mountains giving them a soulful depth I was not used to seeing and it filled me with enormous joy!

We found the trailhead and set off into the woods breaking the smooth surface of snow. No other footprints preceded ours. It was a special feeling.

It was also exhausting! We climbed up for half the hike the around the ridge and back down steeply for a total of 4 moderately tough miles.

However, It was equally gorgeous! An exhilarating, way to kick off our hiking weekend! Lemonade for all! (Or maybe hot chocolate) Hike on!

Closing out Summer on Massanutten Mountain

George Washington National Forest has been on the hiking list for awhile. ¬†It’s not that far, but it is on the other side of Shenandoah National Park…so after driving an hour to Shenandoah, I’m like, um, this is good!

Well, I scheduled this one with some hiking pals so I would actually go ALL the way down to the trail head which is on Rt. 211 west of Luray, VA.  It was exciting to head off in a new direction, towards a new mountain, a new adventure!

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Route: Wildflower ->Massanutten South -> Bird Knob -> Forest Road ->Roaring Run ->Brown’s Hollow (11.7 miles)

We met up in Front Royal, then carpooled down from there. ¬†The trail head had ample parking and isn’t hard to find…although, I passed by it before I saw the turn off. ¬†No matter, there was a small place to pull off and turn around just afterwards…which I did. ¬†Holy moly, the traffic coming up the mountain from both directions is FAST…had to gun it like a NASCAR driver when I pulled out! My RAV4 enjoyed the kicking up of gravel and trail of dust…

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Trail Head Parking

We set out down the Wildflower Trail, then climbed up on the Massanutten South Trail. ¬†This was a big climb and I purposefully went up while it was still early in the day. ¬†Once on the ridge, the trail is really nice! ¬†Yes, rocks…but enough space in between to place my feet on soft pine needles. ¬†The scent of those pines was particularly delicious on this morning, ahhh. ¬†Back to school for me within a week’s time. ¬†I would miss the freedom of summer, but not the heat and humidity. ¬†This morning, up on the ridge, with a slight breeze, cool temps, and scent of pine …lovely.

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Hiking Pals at Overhanging Rock (almost on the ridge)!

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Yay! A rockpile! No, I’m serious, I love these! ūüôā

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Top of the pile, here I come!

Given that I had no idea what to expect on this trail, I found the terrain pretty interesting! Huge rocks, rock piles, pine trees… Once on the ridgeline, we hiked along in comfortable silence until we came upon the overlook. ¬†Wow! and there is a campsite up there. ¬†I am definitely putting this on the backpack list!

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After the overlook, the goal was to visit Emerald Pond. ¬†I’d heard about it, so I wanted to see it for myself! ¬†Believe me, it is every bit as beautiful as I’d heard! ¬†and more campsites! ¬†It would be nice, if more people cleaned out their trash though. ¬†We packed out a couple of bags along the way.

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Right Turn, I’m not getting on the forest road yet!

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Just before Emerald Pond. Camping allowed in the field.

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Emerald Pond

After Emerald Pond, there was a bit of hiking down a forest road which wasn’t super pleasant, but not too bad. ¬†But oh, buddy, when we pulled off the forest road to Roaring Run Trail…wow, that was steep! It didn’t help that it was now the hottest part of the day! Trudge up it we did, then took a sit down break at the top near another campsite. ¬†We then headed down and picked up Brown’s Hollow Trail to complete the loop.

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A few leaves are changing! Ready for Fall!

Brown’s Hollow would be gorgeous to hike through in the Spring as several waterfalls cross the trail on their way downhill to the creek. Loved this hike and Massanutten! Definitely coming back!

But now my summer is over…on to Fall! Hike on!