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

Henry David Thoreau

Hiking Up and Out to the Final Surprise

Friday July 17, 2015                                                         Previous Post:
Big Meadows Campground                                                  Despite the Mushroom Distractions, We Make it to our Destinations
Shenandoah National Park


This is the final installment on a completely surprising hike to the Corbin Cabin and back.  If you have not read the first two and want to see the hike, the cabin and other abandoned artifacts, you can click this link for PART 1 and this one for PART 2.  It really did take 3 posts for me to tell the story of this amazing hike in the way I want to remember it.


In the last post, we were just leaving Corbin Cabin to head back up to on the Nicholson Hollow Trail to Skyline Drive.  The information on the cabin and the ruins we saw is in Part 2, link above.  I wonder if George Corbin really painted his cabin door and trim this rather contemporary shade of green.  I had read this this was a very true restoration of his cabin.



David takes a last bite of his lunch and down the path to the river we go.




Mr. Corbin certainly did pick a really gorgeous spot for his home place.






Can you even imagine having this right outside your door?




One last look at the rooftop of the Albert and Mamie Nicholson Cabin in the distance and we’re back on the mushroom trail.









There really are chanterelles everywhere.  Looks like a two fold attack on the bottom row.








David is heading back up at a gradual climb.





The orange just springs out at you as you hike along.




The second water crossing here has much more water than on the Corbin Trail.








Rattlesnake Plantain in bloom. It’s not actually a plantain but an summer blooming orchid. The leaves have a checkerboard pattern similar to a snake skin. This plant was used for snakebites. If bitten, the victim would quickly locate rattlesnake plantain leaves, chew them, swallowing a bit of the juice and then apply the chewed leaves to the bite.







We’ve seen Indian Pipe all along the trail but this is the first cluster.




Looks like a little parasol doesn’t it?  I know I’ve put purple mushrooms in before but they are just so amazing.







Up we gradually go with a rest stop for a hug.





We think we must be getting close when the stairs start. either that or the trail is too steep here and requires them.




Those of you who read the post on the giant mushroom just on the edge of the Cave Cemetery will not be surprised when I tell you that my eagle eyes found another one back off the trail. But this one was nearly 2’ in diameter. I actually don’t see a lot of things well but I do have an eye for fungus and mushrooms. I’m pretty sure it is a Berkeley’s Polypore which can get over 3’ in size. The flesh is really thick and firm.  It grows on tree roots from Canada to Louisiana, Midwest to Texas and in the Pacific Northwest.







It’s obvious that at one time, someone used this trail to come to their spring and spring box.




On up we go, a little steeper now. .



These are both forms of what is known as coral mushrooms.






More up and then we can see the end post. It isn’t the end of our hike, but it is the end of the Nicholson Hollow Trail.






We now cross the drive and take the AT back to the car.




Following the familiar white blaze.


And then we come to this creature leaning over the trail.



Which one of us is he going to have for his lunch? I’m afraid we’re too skinny so he’ll have to have both of us unless he’ll settle for mushrooms which though not nearly as abundant as on the loop we’ve just finished are definitely here on the AT.






There’s Ruby patiently waiting for us.  It’s nearly 7:00 at night. Thank goodness for the long day light of summer. We have spent the entire day having a wonderful time on the loop to Corbin Cabin.  We had no idea we would turn this 5 miles into an entire day.




The sun is in our eyes as it drops low in the sky but luckily it doesn’t blind us from seeing the icing on the cake for our day.



This time I get some decent shots of this mighty fine black bear. I can’t decide if I’m glad I’m seeing him from the car or if I wish I’d seen him on the trail. Black bears are seldom aggressive unless they have cubs around.



He checks out the area for a while and then strides off along his way.
Very exciting for us. We are just a bother for him I suppose.



I just love that they live here in this place, free and unharmed other than by poaches of which sadly there are some.



to one of the very best days we’ve had here in Shenandoah National Park.




If you made it through all 3 episodes congratulations and many thanks!


  1. The purple mushrooms are my favorite. What a great day you had, then to top it all off by seeing a bear!

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed all three episodes, Sherry. We have rattlesnake plantain and Indian pipe out west, but I have never seen such a proliferation of colorful mushrooms anywhere. Such a sweet little cabin that was. A different life for sure.

  3. I think you could write a whole book just about Shenandoah and its trails. I liked the bear best, but would definitely prefer to be in the car for the observation rather than on the trail.

  4. Thanks go to you for taking us along on such a wonderful adventure!!! The Black Bear sure was a Grand Finale:o)))

  5. I think Mr. Corbin made a fine choice of color, perfect to blend in with all the greenery around his home. Have I mentioned I'm partial to the color green? :c)

  6. The one mushroom looks like a flower. Cool bear pictures-

  7. Better to be in the car. One of our favorite sightings of a black bear was at Big Meadow Lodge ... right there by our cabin ... with two adorable cubs.

  8. Now that is a perfect day on the trail! That giant mushroom is amazing and the bear...well a bear sighting is ALWAYS exciting! :-) Thanks for taking me on this lovely hike!

  9. A bear! Awesome! Love learning about all the different kinds of mushrooms from you, thank you!

  10. Wow wow! A very nice surprise to see that lovely black bear. What a great ending to your hike.

  11. What a fantastic journey you n David had. Love old finds like this. The mushrooms and butterflies are gorgeous

  12. So cool to see the bear! and, all those wonderful mushrooms!

  13. What an amazing variety of fungi!! I love the brightly colored ones. That is a gorgeous bear!! What great luck:) Your photos are super.

  14. Gem Studded Puff Ball - that has got to be the best name!! Amazing fungi - so many wonderful colors and shapes. I'm so glad you got to see a bear after such a fine hike! What an impressive animal! I'm sure that gave you a smile to break your face :)

  15. Such a pleasant place to hike. This time of year, the bears are getting a good variety to eat, so they're in good moods.

  16. The setting for the cabin is perfection. I love the fairyland of mushrooms full of so many colorful varieties. I'm not surprised to see the trail guarded by such a fierce beast as you encountered! Obviously you were known to be a friend of the realm and allowed to pass unscathed :-) That giant fungi is so special - thank you for sharing it. The bear is beautiful and powerful and such a lovely exclamation point at the end of your wonderful day :-))))

  17. I made it to the three episodes and a few extra. You had a wonderful day with the Corbin's lovely cabin, flowers, a variety of mushrooms and bear!

  18. What a beautiful trail and superb day of hiking. All of the fungi you've photographed are interesting, but I think the coral mushroom may be my favorite. And how cool that you saw (and photographed!) a black bear! Very special day, indeed.

  19. This really is a mushroom trail with much diversity and colors. But best of all is seeing the bear.


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