Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Camping in the Shenandoah National Park

After dropping off S's parents, we head down the highway toward the Shenandoah National Park. The last leg was going down I-81 to New Market, then taking Route 211 through the New Market Gap to the National Park Entrance station. We passed many landmarks, with there promises of things to come. Along with dark clouds to the west of us, with their own promises.

We arrived at the Big Meadows campground Monday afternoon, watching the clouds come in. We had decided to skip backpacking and just do camping Sunday night, when we realized that we would not leave home until around 11. So the whole way, S and I were joking about how happy I would be if he would have to put up the tent in the rain. We picked a site along the Appalachian Trail and set up the tent and rainfly. The tent was set up in a hurry, and it started raining while they were putting up the fly. And, while it was still lightly raining, we juggled the meal schedule and cooked tricolor pasta with pesto sauce, which did not care much if it got wet. And on finishing cooking the meal we ducked under the fly to eat to dine under the rainfly. And we enjoyed our dinner of pasta and wine. S informed me that I was not allowed to be not happy the rest of the honeymoon.

Tuesday was for hiking. Breakfast was scrambled eggs with onion and a bit of pesto sauce along with pita and green tea. The hike was in four parts, three waterfalls and the finish. First stage was to Rose River falls. We started from the campsite along the Appalachian Trail. We took some pictures at Fishers Gap, and took off our jackets as we started to warm up.

On the Rose River Trail L and S confirmed the directions for a family that was not sure which trail to take. After checking his maps and compass, the family declared that L and S were professionals while they were amateurs.

We made it to the Rose River Falls. This was in an area designated as wilderness within Shenandoah National Park. Very much enjoyed taking pictures. Someone else there took pictures of us. And we also used the Gorillapod (Thanks Guy!) to take pictures of us by the falls. Next, to the Dark Hollow Falls. The stone table bug in a supposedly wilderness area. And it started raining. And Sha experienced having rain when hiking with Louis, which apparently she had never experienced before.

When we reached Dark Hollow Falls, we were initially very disappointed. Then looking at a map, we realized we did not reach the falls. A lady with baby and toddler came down and informed us the falls were actually further up and their was a steep part to the trail. At least it was steep for someone holding a baby and with a toddler in tow. So we went up the trail to the actual Dark Hollow Falls. And that was more impressive. We had lunch on the trail, marinated salmon and pita bread. The part that did not fall on the ground.

The last falls were the Lewis Falls, which were on the Lewis Trail around Big Meadows. We got near the falls, which was not very impressive because we could not get to close to the falls. On the way back, we went up a very rocky trail, that included some scrambling. We also saw a couple that we had met taking pictures near the Dark Hallow Falls. We figured they were driving, so they got there just a little before we did.

Dinner was pad thai with egg. While getting the stuff from Sha's car, Louis picked up her luggage and dropped all her clothes on the ground. While Louis was picking up her clothes and apologizing profusely, Sha decided to dump all her toiletries on the ground too. But then we decided that dumping things on the ground was not so fun so we went back to getting dinner ready. We soaked the noodle, but we were running out of cooking alcohol, so we ended up putting in a lot of water in the pad thai to get the noodle soft. But it was still good.

Since it looked like it was not going to rain on dinner, we took down the fly, and put up a tarp to dry it out overnight. And we went to an earlynight.

Breakfast Wednesday was bagel and tea. While enjoying our tea, a ranger came by and asked if we had reserved our spot. When we told him that we came and picked it he was surprised. Because we had the best campsite in the campground because of the great view of the mountains from the site. Which we had been appreciating the whole time. We packed everything up, and it turned out just about everything was dry after being out overnight and through the morning. The drive back was along Skyline drive. We made two stops, one on the east and one viewing west. The west viewing stop was where we could see Stony Man Mountain as well as the New Market Gap. The rest of the trip to the B&B was uneventful, after all, we passed by this way on the way here. And we looked forward to what our honeymoon had in store for us next.

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