Saturday, April 14, 2007

Elizabeth Furnace Hike - GWNF

Finally, I'm posting the pictures from my hike in the Elizabeth Furnace area of George Washington National Forest from last weekend! It was a beautiful day,however it was frigid! As evidenced by the amount of clothes we all have on! The cold temps are why I didn't take more pictures, in order to take a picture I would have had to stop and then I would have gotten cold! This trail has wonderful winter views of both the Massanuttan Mountains and the Shenandoah mountains. This was the 2nd time I have hiked in GWNF - I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to more hikes over there! :)

A view from a rock outcropping.

Surrounded by mountains!

Beryl, someone who's name I don't recall, and Andrew

Jeff, Russ (our fearless leader), and Robert, Beryl's son, don't remember the name of the man who is seated.
You can really see how cold it is out - we all have our hats and gloves on!

It was a terrific hike, with great company! I will def. repeat this hike soon! :)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

New Blog Title

For all those of you who have been anxiously awaiting the unveiling of the name of my blog, this is for I was hiking yesterday I thought of a name for my blog...Playtime! It seems that I mostly use the blog to write about the fun things I do and share pictures I decided this would be a good thing to focus my blog around!

So, without further ado, scroll down and read all about the fun things I have done over Spring Break! :)

Tuesday Hightop Mt. in SNP

Amazingly Tuesday was an even more beautiful day than Mon! I was so glad I'd already decided I was going to hiking in SNP! I have been working on hiking the entire AT in SNP - I have been working on this for 6+ years now and before today I'd done roughly 50 miles of it, so 1/2 way through SNP. Today I decided to hike a few more AT miles. I haven't done much exploration of the south district of SNP since it's so far away, however I have covered most of the central and north districts and wanted an interesting hike for the day. I looked in the guide books and found Hightop Mountain which looked like a good day hike. I decided to hike up from Smith Roach Gap and go up the mt gently and then descend steeply to Skyline Drive and then hike back to the car via Skyline Drive rather than retracing my steps. It proved to be a wonderful hike, with wonderful views!

These little white flowers were abundant along the trail.

This winter's ice storms were especially hard on the central and southern districts of SNP. It's strange because the ice seemed to take the tops of the trees rather than the whole tree. It looked almost like tornado damage, rather than ice storm damage. The woods were a mess and I know it took many many trail crew hours to clear the trail so it was passable for hikers.

The view from the summit of Hightop mountain.

Another shot of the view from the top. You can see an overlook on SNP down below. Scroll down and you'll see the view of the mountain from the overlook - I think...there were two overlooks from which I could see the mountain so I'm not sure which one I'm looking at here.

Yet another shot of the view from Hightop.

Where the AT meets Skyline Drive.

A view of Hightop Mountain from one of the overlooks along Skyline Drive.
After I hiked the Hightop Loop (6.6 miles) it was still early in day and I'd considered doing a few more miles in southern district but was feeling like I should quit while I was ahead - 6 miles was a decent days hike and it was hot. I'd decided that I would drive back SD rather than deal with 29 and all the stop lights and such. As I drove up SD toward Big Meadows the beauty of the day got the better of me and I decided that I had to hike some more. There was a section of the AT from Lewis Mt Campground to Pocosin Fire Road that I needed to hike. I'd failed to bring my central district map so I was unsure of the distance but I remembered it being about a mile from the fire road to the campground meaning that it would be a 2 mile round trip. Well, I was a bit was almost 2 miles from the fire road to the campground, adding 4 miles round trip to my day, bringing my total milage for the day to 10+ miles! Pretty impressive!

A shot of the AT between Pocosin Fire Road and Lewis Mt. Campground.
On the way back I actually pulled out my ipod - I swore I'd never use my ipod while hiking becacuse I love hearing the sounds of the forest, however the forest was very quiet today, scary quiet, and by the 9th and 10th mile of the day I needed something to keep me interested.
Overall it was a spectacular day! The best part....I didn't get a hiking headache! I have had a hard time with getting a horrible headache after hiking long distances but today I didn't...not sure the exact reason why but here are my theories...
1 - I drank A LOT! I started by "tanking" up before I even left home by drinking a large cup of water and then nursed a bottle of Gatorade on the way to the park. I made numerous stops to use the "facilitrees" all day. I think part of the problem could be dehydration.
2 - I ate throughout the day - little snacks here and there rather than a big meal at one point. I'm wondering if that might be part of the problem...I eat lunch within the 1st two hours of hiking and then hike all afternoon and my body needs me to stop and snack more. I do stop and snack but I realized that I frequently eat starchy/sugary stuff for my afternoon snack....I'm thinking I need to bring something more substaintail for the afternoon - like another sandwich or hard boiled eggs or someting with some protien.
3 - I kept the pace slow - it took me between 3.5 and 4 hours (not sure when I started) to do the 6.6 miles and then almost 2 hours to do 3.6 miles which I think helped too.
4 - I was maxed out on my allergy meds - I think allergies has something to do with this too...
One thing I would def change next time...get the sunscreen ALL over my body....there is always a spot that I it was the backs of my hands...after the hike it's always a "fun" surprise to discover where I missed getting the sunscreen!

Total AT in SNP miles: 55!!!!

Monday Evening at Prince William Forest Park

On Monday it was such a beautiful day I had to get out and enjoy! I didn't get moving in time to get out to SNP so I took Daisy Mae on a short jaunt in Prince William Forest Park. I'd hoped to see some beavers, however did not. :( Enjoy the pics of our evening!

A small falls on the South Fork of Quantico Creek.

Daisy hot and tired after just about a mile!

Beaver project, but no beavers. :(

Some small of the few signs of Spring we saw.

The setting sun viewed through the trees.

A fire hydrant in the middle of the woods! Maybe Andrew will add a chapter to his "Random Boilers in the Woods" book to include other random urban developments! I'm really curious about what it's doing there, and how it got there!

Daisy heading down to the creek to get a drink of water!

Daisy in the car, exhausted after 2 miles and ready to go home for dinner!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Sunset Hike in SNP

Yesterday my good friend Andrew lead a "Sunset Hike" in Shenandoah National Park! It was bit cloudy which interfered with the sunset a bit, however it was a great group and a great hike! We started the hike at Jenkins Gap and hiked about a mile up Compton Peak and then back. Compton Peak has an excellent view, although yesterday it was bit obscured by the clouds

The view to the northeast from Compton Peak.

The view to the Northwest (ish...) . The head at the bottom right of the picture belongs to Beryl, a hiker from our group.

Another view from Compton Peak - this time looking west.

Skyline Drive snaking through the mountains, as seen from above on the AT.

A view from the AT - not the greatest view - the haze obscures the mountains in the distance.

As we were hiking along the Appalachian Trail I saw these daffodils planted right off the trail! They were the only flowers I saw the whole hike, strange because daffodils aren't wild, so someone must have planted them here at some point....I wonder who? and why? and how long ago?

Eating dinner while watching the sunset from the Browntown Valley overlook. Our fearless leader and my good friend, Andrew, is the 3rd person back - 1st guy...the other two gals are Fran and Colleen two great folks I had the pleasure of sharing my car with for the trip to and from the park.

Beryl and two other ladies whose names I don't remember, eating dinner in the overlook.

Looking to the southwestish. Interestingly enough the camera seems to have added light to the picture as the day itself was much gloomier than the pictures suggest.

Another shot of the sunset.

And a 3rd shot of the sunset.

After we finished dinner, and started to get cold, we headed back in the dark, hiking along Skyline Drive. The clouds broke up a bit and allowed the nearly full moon to provide us with a great deal of light. Since it is still very much winter in the mountains, there was very little traffic on Skyline Drive after dark making it the perfect night to walk the road. We stopped in an overlook to listen to a woodcock (I think that's what it was) and even heard a distant cow....oh I mean cell phone! :)

It was lovely hike with great people! :)