Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

The Inside of a Mountain Cabin

Friday July 24, 2015                                                                                                                          Previous Post:
Loft Mountain Campground                                                                                                                  His and Hers Days
Shenandoah National Park


**Note: There was a quiz question in the previous post (above) and I sure wish there was a prize so I could give it to Jodee who was the only one to even venture a guess.  Thanks Jodee!  The answer is that the most effective was the 70% rubbing alcohol with medium grade steel wool and a pocket knife as a scraper.  So much for all the “products” they sold us. 



Yesterday I hiked North on the AT from the campground to the Ivy Creek Overlook.  Today David and I are going to hike South on the AT from the campground and go down to see the Doyles River Cabin.  We really luck out and are able to see the inside of the cabin.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We again go down to the end of our loop and pick up the AT only now we’re going South.  We pass by several overlooks and huge outcroppings where David plays king of the mountain. 



It’s about a mile on the AT to the Doyle’s River Trail down to the cabin.  The trail goes on down to the Doyle River Falls but we’re saving that for another day.  Today will be a short morning hike before the week-enders arrive.




It’s pretty obvious that this section of the AT isn’t used very much or grows up VERY fast.



In fact the trail only gets narrower the further we go.



I keep my eyes open for poison ivy but luckily don’t see any.



Along the way we come to a huge rock face surrounded by blackberries.  David goes to work at once.  With both hands.







He picks berries, I take pictures







We come to the spot where the AT   crosses the Doyle’s River Falls Trail.  As always, I want to keep going on the AT, cross right on over and see where it goes and what I’ll see.  But that’s for another day too.  Today we are turning left headed downhill to the Doyle’s River Cabin.  We know the cabin is not an original Mountain Cabin owned at one point by people who were displaced from the park as the Corbin Cabin was.  This cabin was built in 1936-37 by the CCC and is for rent by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.  I’m not sure how this works in terms of the park and this group and the money.


We haven’t even turned the corner until he finds more berries. 



Ok now, down we go!



At this point the Doyle’s River Falls Trail continues on down hill to the falls.  A spur trail goes off to the left just beyond the rock lined spring on the left.  The location of the spring so near the cabin trail makes me wonder if, at one time, there was an original mountain cabin nearby that is no more.




The trail up to the cabin begins just beyond the cement trail post.  Water is constantly coming out the pipe from the spring.  As at all springs, there is a sign here that says the water is not safe to drink and must be treated.





About a third of a mile of pretty steep up brings us to the cabin which we are surprised to find is occupied.  We apologize for bothering the renters who are obviously packing up to leave when one of the men speaks up and says “Oh no problem, I’m the PATC Overseer for the cabin.  Would you like to see the inside.”





“You bet”, I reply. 


The cabin overseer is from nearby Grottos in the Shenandoah Valley.  He is here with his teenage children and his brother-in-law and his children who are visiting from England.  Apparently the sister/wives have the day off.  The overseer tells us that although the park service built the cabin, they now provides the materials and the PATC repairs the cabin other than large jobs like the recent replacement of the roof.  I didn’t ask him if the park gets part of the take but I’m betting this is sort of a way for the PATC to make some money to use in keeping the AT and other trails in the park in repair.  A barter system of sorts.

Inside we find bunk beds, a table, a cabinet, a woodstove which he tells us he hauled in with the help if a friend and a little red wagon.  I can’t imagine a little red wagon going down the trial or up the ascent to the cabin.  Especially with a wood stove in it.





We don’t want to be in their way any longer although they assure us we aren’t and that they won’t get fined for overstaying.  Nope I guess not.  

We knew the cabin wasn’t an original when we first saw the outdoor fireplace.  That’s a clear sign.  The original residents never had a fireplace on the porch.   Fire places were inside the house or outside in the butchering area.





David is quite interested in the usually locked tool box the PATC keeps on one side of their cabins as well as the bear box on the other side. A locked metal bear box is at every cabin and every tent site in the park.  Black Bears live here and no one wants them to become acclimated to human foods.



I take one last shot before we head back down to the Doyle’s River Trail to begin our trek UP.


Both of us have forgotten our hiking poles so we pick some up on the way up hill.  David rows his way up the Doyle’s River Trail back to the AT.




When we arrive home we fix some dinner and then head over to the amphitheater for the evening ranger talk.

We notice some new neighbors across the way.  Now this is an interesting RV.  Hope we’ll get to talk to them before they leave but no one is out now.




On the way we find this yellow swallowtail butterfly and two cute bunnies as well as some interesting camping set ups.





Looks like an entire group of hammock sleepers.  I count 5.


I think I’ll take the one with the screening.



Looks like the campsite across the way has one too, bright yellow.  Maybe it’s a convention.  I must say that I am quite surprised that there are no rules about not tying things to trees here.  In nearly all the state and national parks we’ve been to, that is a hard and fast rule.




The setting for the amphitheater is magnificent.  What a view!   We are a little early so I take some pictures of the color in the sky.





The sun is setting far to the left this time of year so it’s hard to get a picture of it without getting up during the program.  I settle for the color.




As the colors diminish, the lights come on.




One last shot and we are on our way. 
The end of another wonderful day in Shenandoah National Park.




  1. There are enough blackberries surrounding my site here in Oregon that I can be very picky and only choose the ripest, juiciest ones. :)

  2. I afraid I wouldn't have gotten very far on that trail...I am easily sidetracked by riper berries;o)) What great timing on your hike. You even got an inside tour of the cabin!! David appears to be managing the upgrades on the trails...like that paddling stroke;o))

  3. I'm with David picking berries. The cabin is nice and even better that you got the royal tour. Been seeing a lot of hammocks in our campground also.
    Had a family in the other day that spends a lot of time in Shenandoah. Their Junior Rangers told me they love all the trails and streams there.

  4. What? No prize??! And darn I almost said the alcohol :-)

    Love that they figured out a way for everyone to win with the little cabin. It looks like a pretty sweet design. We have a huge pear tree at our current site, they look to be ripe in another two weeks :-( I'd love to be here to fill a bucket! There were several hammocks at Dungeness which surprised me as well. That screened one is quite the set up :-) I always wish we had more windows in our rig, but that one might be a challenge to live in. Beautiful sunset, gorgeous.

  5. What great timing to be able to see the inside of the cabin. Wouldn't that be a sweet job for you two? :-) When we were working for the Ocala NF, we got a few hammock groups staying at the campgrounds nearby. Looked interesting!

  6. There are a lot of backpackers and hikers who are using hammocks - they are referred to a "hammock hangers". I can't get in or out of a hammock without tipping myself out, so they aren't for me. It also seems problematic to find two trees spaced exactly right when you need them. Give me a tent any day!

  7. I would have loved the blackberries!! Yum!! Neat cabin-what luck to see inside! Beautiful views and sunset from the amphitheater! A screen door on your RV-now that's unique!

  8. I enjoy relaxing in a hammock, but don't think I'd want to spend an entire night in one! The blackberries are ripening here on Lopez Island, too -- I was just telling Eric we need to start picking them. Cobbler may be in our future. :-) Your sunset photo is beautiful.

  9. It looks so cool and comfy there! Been hovering around 90 here and humid for what feels like forever. I've been spending time indoors to avoid it which is such a shame. Glad you guys are able to get out and share your hikes with me at least!


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