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

Henry David Thoreau

Laurel Prong

Saturday May 26 & Sunday May 27, 2018                                            Most Recent Posts:
Lewis Mountain Campground                                                                 Summer Solstice
Shenandoah National park                                                                    Dark Hollow and Rose River Falls


I’ve had going to the Rapidan Camp, President Hoover’s Summer White House, in my plans since I returned to Shenandoah.  Ideally I like to do the loop taking the trail from Milham Gap to the camp and then back up the Laurel Prong Trail.  That’s an 8 mile loop.  With the rain problems it keeps getting put off for shorter hikes that will fit in the no rain window for the day.

Today also has one of those windows but I think I’ll head down the Laurel Prong to the camp and just come back the same way and maybe I can make it.  That will only be 6.4 miles

Like many other trails, this one leads off of the AT. 

The AT at this section is  beautifully and unusually flat.  The rains have made everything very lush and green and narrowed the paths.  People better keep hiking or nature will just grow right over them.


Lots of False Solomon’s Seal on the trail



I reach the cement marker for the Laurel Prong Trail turnoff and down I go.



A few views east along the way looking out toward the Southwest Mountains.  Of course that would be southwest from Washington DC not from here.


They sure are blue and even smoky. 


Probably some of the last Wild Azalea of the season.  It stands out beautifully against the dark rock.

One of the main features in Shenandoah is its rocks, on the trail, beside the trail, towering over the trail, jutting into the trail.

Groups of sweet little Bluets line the path.  The first picture gives a better idea of how small they are and how abundant.


Oh boy, blackberries in the future.  Wonder where the ones in my Solstice pancakes came from?

That’s what’s always wonderful about the park, some things are finishing up as others are just getting started.  Amazing planet Earth.


I forget how pretty the blackberry flowers are.


A bit further on, lucky me, one of what is probably the last of the pink trillium for this year.



I reach the cement marker indicating two miles to go. If the rain is on time, I might just make it and back.

A field of May Apple


First stream crossing.  It’s so crystal clear it doesn’t show how deep it is.  Stepping rocks required



Any wildflower experts know if these are ramps?  There sure were a lot of them.



I’m looking at this new to me fungi when I hear the thunder.  I’m only about a mile away from Rapidan Camp.  I’m sure I can make it before the rain but that means over 3 miles back possibly in the rain.  What to do?  And what is this stuff?


More thunder and the skies are darkening.  I decide to abandon my quest.  It’s up hill all the way and rocky so I don’t want to be climbing wet rock.  Very often, the prediction for showers doesn’t pan out and the rain comes a few hours later than predicted.  I was sort of counting on that today. But instead, the rain is early.  Better get up and out of here before the fog sets in and makes it more difficult.


No more stopping for pictures but Lucky me – the fog sets in thickly as I’m almost to the car and I get back right before it pours but still without having gotten to Rapidan Camp.     Guess I’ll just have to try again another day.


But it isn’t going to be the next day, Sunday.  Fog and rain all day long.  Sure feel sorry for the folks in the tents.


  1. What a lovely hike. The flowers are amazing. Wish we could hike the next one with you.

  2. Glad you got out a bit before the fog and rain. Trillium looks like a fairy slipper? White flower looks like tiarella but the leaf looks like clintonian so no clue about your flower. Eastern stuff can be different but I notice the smilacenas are the same.

  3. Good choice to abandon and get off the slope before the downpour!!! We are having the same situation here in The Smokies...but at least, like you, this isn't a one week vacation. Do feel sorry for the folks that plan all year and get rained out the week they are here. The rain has made everything so green and so GROWING;o)) The Falls and Streams are amazing so we just work around the rain and get to enjoy the results:o)) Lucky US!!!

  4. Yes, rain, rain, rain! Glad you still got to hike. Nice flowers!

  5. Love the combination of trees, large rocks and lush bushes and ground cover. It's all so magical. The blackberry flowers remind me of wedding dresses. That fungi is very bizarre!! Mother Nature truly keeps us guessing - as do the weather forecasters :-) We felt the same about the tenters in the very hot southwest a few weeks ago.

  6. A lovely landscape to be hiking through. The trilliums here tend to bloom for a few weeks in May before they're gone.

  7. I loved camping in Shenandoah. We've had a lot of rain here this spring so everything is green. We spent a lot of time on the Columbia River, and I loved it when the fog rolled in--gave everything such a mysterious aura.

  8. The fog is rather pretty creeping through all that lushness and not to bad for hiking if you don't get soaked and cold. Or have to worry about slipping on wet rocks.

  9. Glad you made it back before the downpour. That is such a cool red fungi. So strange up close.

  10. So many gorgeous hikes—even with the fog! Not so sure I'd be happy hiking in a downpour, though. Good thing you got back before the skies opened up. That pink ladyslipper is just beautiful. And that fungi—I've never seen anything quite like that!

  11. Neat fungi on a lovely hike. Love that mountain view and the flowers. I am glad you made it back before the fog!


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