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

Henry David Thoreau

We Spring Winnona and Return to Shenandoah

Wednesday July 8 and Thursday July 9, 2015                                        Previous Post:
Big Meadows Campground Site 140                                                        UVA Chapel and Gardens
Shenandoah National Park




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.



  1. A wonderful hike, Sherry...Love hearing about the AT, I'd really like to do more of it next fall....

  2. How did Dave like his arm protectors? Where did you get them from? I'm sure Ken could use the because his arms are a mess and he is always cutting himself. The scenery is absolutely beautiful! Love those mountain views.

    1. David likes them a lot. They are proforce arm bands used in lots of sports. I got them on Amazon.

  3. Your "Brave" decal can easily be custom made. Surprised the body shop didn't suggest that when they couldn't come up with the original.


  4. Love seeing the photos of the AT> The east side of the country is just so incredibly different from the west side. Those soft gentle trails and green mountains are a long way from our dry rocky landscapes. I laughed at the self time thing....I never seem to get in the photo in time. Makes for some very funny photos.

  5. What a wonderful hike. So much interesting fungus to see! I like your self pic on (or near) the rock! Hilarious! I haven't been able to keep up the past couple of months, glad to see you both seem to be doing great!

  6. The Gorge hike in Acadia had a lot of the Talus slopes...now I know what it is called;o)) Sure is tricky hiking!!! Winnona looks all new and shiny...even without all her jewelry. Glad you got back up the hill for a spell:o))

  7. Love all that green! It is amazing all the tiny points of interest one can find on a forest trail, isn't it?!

  8. Yes, this was a great day:) The trail had lots of variety. It's always a fun surprise to come on a viewing area. Too bad the mountains are always hazy, even on a good day there seemed to be hazy. Lots of fun fungi for you and even a few flowers. I had to laugh at your timer photos:) I know how hard that is since we have tried this as well. Glad you made it for one and didn't get hurt. The butterfly is gorgeous. Don't believe I've ever seen a brown one. Nice treat to have the little deer family waiting:)

  9. Wonderful hike. I am looking forward to getting back on the trail once we actually start rolling. I have seen squirrels eating amanita mushrooms. None for me, thank you.

  10. We had a lovely hike yesterday, some through talus slopes as well :) Nice pictures once again!

  11. Another great post I really enjoy hiking along with you and some of the places you go that's probably as close as I'm going to get....!

  12. Lovely hike done in perfect timing - great mushrooms and flowers and views. Well done finally getting up to the edge of that big rock for a 'selfie'! What a life you lead! :)

  13. The talus slope shots particularly stand out to me.

  14. OK, I can see why David needs those arm protectors, I have never washed the slide toppers and will not go on a ladder higher than a step ladder:))

  15. Great hike and wonderful photos! I have always loved the Shenandoah as well as the Blue Ridge. I miss all the lovely wildflowers and mushrooms/fungi that I saw in my North Carolina woods.

  16. I bet Winnona is just as happy to be back with you as you are to have her back. The work looks fantastic. Hope a decal is easily found to complete her rehab!

  17. Yet another interesting hike in the AT. Wild flowers and fungus and butterflies are a definite camera magnets.
    I enjoyed your selfie pictures, and its fun to do when no one is around. Glad you finally made one good selfie.

  18. I don't ride anymore but as a kid I also had a handsome big horse. I used to have to climb on something to get up in the stirrups. When he did not want to take me for a ride, he would move just as I stepped off the fence and I would end up on the ground.

  19. So many sweet little scenes and beautiful spots. I think the timer shots are fun 'behind the scenes' pics! and, love the color of the clump of fungus.

  20. The blue of the mountains at sunset and the bright orange "pile" of fungi are so beautiful. Glad you saw more Indian Pipe, they are so different! Winnona does need her Brave, hope you are able to find or get one made soon. Wonderful timer bloopers - you look about 12 years old :-)))) My horses were always shorter - 14.5 ish, and I still needed a fence or large rock to get in the saddle. Even in a western saddle :-)

  21. Love that last big tree- what a graceful shape it is! Looks like a nice hike-

  22. Don't recognize that one but it is a good find!

  23. Oh boy, more of the beautiful AT. No eating shrooms unless you are sure what they are. Critters can eat what we can't. The puffballs are OK if you catch them before they go to dust inside. Nature is amazing! And I love how you see the big and little along your hikes.


Your comments are the best part of this blog for me.
I LOVE hearing from you!