Since we are so close to the Shenandoah National Park we decided that while Katie was here we should take her for a ride through part of the park. This blog is a bit out of sequence since we did this while Katie was still visiting but I was without my computer due to multiple attempts to upgrade to Windows 10. I am glad to say that now I have finally been successful in upgrading my computer to windows 10. I have even upgraded Sharon's 1.5 year old laptop which fortunately had no issues with the upgrade.
Anyhow, the three of us left the Tom's Book area and drove to the north entrance of the Shenandoah National Park. We had to purchase another America the Beautiful Pass as ours had expired. This may be the last one we need to buy as it wont expire till September 2016 and I will turn 62 the following June. Then I can finally buy the $10 lifetime version of the $800 per year card we have been buying. One of the few perks of aging I guess…
The day was pleasant enough but once we drove into the park and started to gain elevation the temperatures dropped a bit and made the weather even better. Sharon and I drove this part of skyline drive before but Katie had never been on it so we pulled out on nearly ever turnout to take in the wide expanses of the Shenandoah Valley below. We feel this drive is one that everyone should experience at least once. This day we drove a bit over 32 miles of the entire road which is about a third of then entire skyline drive.
At each turnout we were rewarded with fantastic vistas, butterflies and beautiful wildflowers blooming. Mostly summer plants were in bloom at this time as we saw lots of sunflowers, black-eyed susans, milkweeds and thistles. The thistles and milkweeds were swarmed by the many butterflies in the mountains.
About 10 miles into the skyline drive we pulled over to hike one of the many waterfall trails in the park. Most waterfall trails in Shenandoah National Park are accessible at various parking lots along Skyline Drive but they will usually involve hiking downhill at first. This, of course, meant we would have to walk back up! The trail we chose was the Lands Run Falls hike which was 1.3 miles Round Trip. I highlighted the round trip part because we thought it was 1.3 miles long and 2.6 miles round trip.
To make a long story short we passed some small (I mean really small) falls at about 0.6 miles. We continued on down the steep hill until we reached 1.3 miles and there was no sign of any waterfall anywhere! So we continued another 2- 3 tenths of mile until I finally gave up and realized we weren’t going to find the waterfall deciding we should turn back. The hike back was all uphill and not a lot of fun since we didn’t see the falls. We did see some fantastic trees and to prove we were tree huggers we took the above photos (these are for you Sherry and David). When we got back and re-read the hike details we realized the little falls we saw at 0.6 miles was the waterfall we were looking for. Oh well, we had a great hike nonetheless..
We continued on the scenic drive until we at last reached the end of our segment and turned off toward Luray. We took the back roads into Woodstock, VA and stopped at the newly opened Woodstock Brewery. Our friend Ashley whom we met two years ago arranged to meet us at the brewery. While waiting, Katie, Sharon and I had a nice craft beer (okay an average craft beer) and laughed about our hike to the falls… Once Ashley arrived we had a blast catching up hearing about her husband, baby girl and her new job. Ashley's smile lights up a room and we really enjoyed reconnecting with her. A perfect ending to another great day here in the Shenandoah Valley.