Shenandoah Hiking Pt. 2

Yesterday, I told you about the first half of my hike in Shenandoah. Today I have the rest of my photos and a few more stories.

Staunton River Trail

This portion of the trail was one of the most difficult I have done in quite some time. The ice storm that caused some damage earlier on in the trail hit this area even harder. Trees were covering the trails so much in some places that I had to detour off trail a few feet just to navigate onward. This section is also very steep and crisscrosses a river. The first river crossing I came to was so deep that I actually decided to cross barefoot. If I had gone across in my boots, I would have ended up with some terrible blisters. The water was cold, but my feet dried way faster than my boots would have!

Me, standing on a rock to give my cold toes a break.

After I got my boots back on, I came to the second river crossing. This time, there was a large fallen tree that had been turned into a bridge. The end of it had broken so it was slightly unbalanced, but it was easily passable with me taking some care to not rock the log. I was just happy to be able to keep my boots on for this crossing!

This portion of the trail seemed to go on forever as the constant elevation gain made my legs tire out quickly.

The Rest Of The Trail

After I got off the Staunton River Trail, I ended up taking the Fork Mountain Fire Road for a ways until getting back on the Jones Mountain Trail. The fire road is wide and even, but it is also mostly uphill. My legs were happy to be on even ground for a bit.

The Jones Mountain Trail took be back up and over Cat Knob. Just before reaching Cat Knob, I ran into a member of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. He was doing trail maintenance and said he would report what I saw on the Staunton River Trail to get a clean up started there. He was very friendly and the only person I saw on trail the whole day.

Once I finished talking to my fellow hiker, I headed up Cat Knob again. I was exhausted at this point, so I put my camera in my bag until I got back to the car. I did not have service in the lot I parked at (Bootens Gap), so I drove a few minutes until I got to the Hazeltop Ridge Overlook to set my GPS for home and turn around. After a few quick phots here, I started the two hour drive back to Richmond. It was exhausting, but I had a great day!

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