Shenandoah National Park, VA

5.31.2014

Just 75 miles outside DC, Shenandoah National Park is a place of beauty and peace.  Me and Nena decided to go explore with some friends, and ended up spending a whole day on a gorgeous natural escape.  

9:03 am,
We entered via the Front Royal entrance, about an hour and a half from the city.  Shenandoah does charge a $15 fee to enter, but the pass lasts for a week and, as it turns out, the views made it well worth it.  As with other national parks, there are also annual and lifetime passes available.

 

9:24 am,
Our first stop was the Signal Knob overlook, where we encountered an amazing view of the Massanutten Mountain. "The Massanutten divides the Shenandoah Valley, separating the north fork of the Shenandoah River, on the far side of the Massanutten, from the south fork on this side." Isn't she lovely?

9:41 am,
We started off with the Dickey Run Trail (there are PLENTY of trail options).  We rationalized that it was fairly short and would give us a good sense of the distance we'd like to do afterwards.  However, we severely underestimated two things: the size of the hills and our out-of-shapeness.  Suffiice it to say, it took us awhile to get through it.

10:26 am,
Once we got to the top though, WOW. This was our view. (Hi, Nena.)

10:36 am,
It was SO quiet up there. I hate to use "one with nature", but being up there gave a really good sense of how separated we are from it when living in cities and towns.  It was nice to just smell the air out there, you know?

10:41 am,
For Ashante, this led easily into written reflection (after we realized despite having bars, son, we were not going to be entitled to an online reading from the phone.)

11:01 am,
Nena was a really good dog, resting mostly and fighting her nap.  Tip for pet lovers: bring plenty of water for your pet and check for ticks!  i had to check Nena constantly and still managed to miss a couple that tried to come home with us.

11:17 am,
After our quiet time, we followed the trail back to our start point. Despite what you would think, downhill isn't necessarily better.  Took  a bit out of us to complete our return...

11:32 am,
We made it. Current priority: FOOD.

12:39 pm,
We drove down Skyline Rd to mile marker 24, where the girls remembered having one of the best pulled pork sandwiches ever.

12:54 pm,
They were right. So right. 

1:25 pm,
Driving back we stopped at various overlooks to take pics. To not overwhelm you I won't post them alllll... but here are a couple (not all from this overlook, but cool name, eh?)

1:40 pm,
Don't worry, there was grass behind me. But that mountainside was real.

Sidenote: Ugh, of course I didn't get the whole tee in the frame :( This was my uniform for today, my Natural is Dope t-shirt. I mean, I'm "natural", I was in nature...It fit. Check out their how they're helping naturalistas live out the motto on their Instagram page.

That's all folks... if you're in the DC area (or some other area that I don't know geographically that's not too far), definitely make the trip.  Additional resources on trails, directions, and any other planning details can be found here.