Wednesday July 8 and Thursday July 9, 2015 Previous Post:
Big Meadows Campground Site 140 UVA Chapel and Gardens
Shenandoah National Park
WEDNESDAY July 8
We finally give up on the Brave decal on the back. We’ll keep looking for it and IF we can find it, they’ll put it on. Wish we could just afford to give Winnona full body paint and have all her stripes and decals painted on.
But for now, we go pick her up, inspect the work and find that they have broken our Wilson antenna that was mounted to the ladder in the back. No one mentioned the problem but they agree to replace it so we’ll just get the newer model and remount it. That works for us.
Winnona’s Boo Boo is all fixed. She looks Grand but I miss the BRAVE on her back. She is after all Winnona the Brave.
We head back up to Big Meadows. We’ve been gone long enough that we can stay another 2 weeks if we want. Our favorite site is taken so we take the one two down from it. These are all walk ins so if we don’t like this one perhaps we’ll just move over to another when those folks leave. Without solar most RVs aren’t able to stay as long as we are.
The problem with the current site is that it is right on the edge between two roads.
I got David a new pair of arm protectors for use when he’s working outside. He bruises very easily these days and hopefully these things will stop that. We get back in the early afternoon and he tries them out while washing off the slide toppers.
Thursday July 9
Today I’m going to hike another section of the AT. The last section I hike was to Rock Springs Shelter and Cabin. David has things he wants to do at the campsite so he drives me North and drops me off in the cabin parking area. It’s a few 10ths of a mile to the AT and then a few 10ths more to the actual cabin turn off.
I’m informed that I’m entering the Backcountry.
Looks like someone took a chomp out of this mushroom. If they are OK for them to eat, I wonder if I can too. But without knowing for sure I’d never try it.
I reach the AT and turn right to take it North to Skyland.
More interesting mushrooms, more indian pipe.
I love the look and the name of these Gem Studded Puff Balls.
If you read the Rock Spring Hut post (here) you might recognize this tree as the one I waited under for David. It is directly in front of the spur trail off to the left to the hut and cabin. This time I pass right on by.
Wild Bergamot plants are so interesting with their green and pink petals. Reminds me of sorority colors or are those valley girl colors?
Even if I don’t know all their names, I’m getting very accustomed to the flora in the woods on the AT this year.
When I come to this sign I’m quite curious. Why are they specifically prohibiting off trail use of any kind.
Doesn’t take me long to find out I’m walking through talus slopes.
Very rocky going. I make it through and want to get my picture with this great old venerable rock. So I set up the camera on the timer.
Opps, didn’t get up the slope in time.
Oops didn’t get up in time that way either. 10 Seconds is the longest timer I have and I’m not doing so well here.
Ok how about I settle for just sitting on the edge in front of it?
But the talus slopes aren’t over.
Steady as she goes. A walking stick really helps when you have uneven rocks that might tip.
This one has views. Seems to get hazier as the summer goes on.
It also has interesting thick leaved plants that look like something that might grow in the desert.
They are all over and grow right up through the rocks. I learn they are called Alleghany Stonecrop and are a drought tolerant succulent. And pink with red stems no less. Mother Nature is amazing.
Have to take care walking across on the stones. Snakes love to hang out in rock piles in the sun.
Back on a nice flat section of the woodland trail and into what looks like a green tunnel.
Soon the trail is right on the edge of a steep drop off on one side and a rock slope on the other.
I can hear the water long before I reach it. Even this relatively small stream has a sweet song.
When I come to another AT signpost, I decide to take the spur trail up to Pinnacle Rock View point.
Turns out to be a little used narrow spur lined with flowers and berries.
A nice view along the way.
But when I get to the top I find that I’m at an overlook on the skyline drive not just a viewpoint on the AT.
But it’s a lovely view. That’s why it has its own overlook. This is what I see as I’m coming out of the woods.
And this is at the overlook wall.
There’s also an information sign showing one of the families whose land was taken being moved out and in to this valley below.
I walk back across the parking area and up the little path to go back down to the AT. The Appalachian Trail originally ran along the spine of the mountains but was displaced by the Skyline Drive.
As I get almost to the bottom I see that a group that had passed me going the other direction has come back going my direction and I’ll now be following them.
But they stop just up the trail right in the middle to take some pictures. They are Oriental speaking their own language which I of course cannot understand. So I wait behind them and I wait and I wait and finally I say excuse me and try to step around them. They don’t seem to understand but I manage to get by.
In not too long, I hear them behind me so I decide to let them pass again and hope they will just keep on walking. I have a seat on the rocks off to the side of the trail as they go by.
That’s the last I see of them. I pass by another spur trail that goes to another parking lot and hope that’s where they have gone.
How about those eyes on the Great Spangled Fritilary
I come to another AT post and wonder if I’m getting close to Skyland. It says another 1.2 miles to go. That is actually pretty close. I’m not in any hurry to be finished. I’m enjoying this hike very much and I was expecting about 5 1/2 miles.
The trail takes me up to another western viewpoint where I have a view of several mountain ranges in the distance including the furthest ones which are in West Virginia.
And then through a less densely wooded area where there are more mushrooms and more Indian Pipe.
One of the really wonderful things about the Appalachian Trail is the varied terrain. Everywhere is beautiful and different.
I walk through a long rocky section. No as rocky as the talus slopes but longer. It turns out to be just before the end of my hike today which I recognize by the hay feeding area I come to.
There is a large tree at the edge of the field just to the left of the hay. At its base is a great clump of nearly orange fungus. Isn’t it great? Pam is my fungus expert. Do you know what this one is Pam?
The AT goes right by the Skyland Horse Stable and I’ve asked David to pick me up in the stable parking lot at 4:00. I’m actually early, but not too early. It’s only 3:50. Great planning. I was able to take my time, go off trail and stop when I wanted.
I’m not riding today but I see that I do barely pass the height restriction for children on big horses. My Appaloosa Nakoma was 16 hands high and weighed over 1200 pounds. He was a handsome wonderful BIG horse.
Parking lot is empty so I walk over to read the sign and find that it’s the location of the ground breaking ceremony for the skyline drive. I didn’t realize they started at Skyland although I did know that CCC Camp #1 was located here.
David arrives right on time and when we get back to Winnona, look who is waiting for us. Another great day in Shenandoah National Park.