Saturday June 30, 2018, 9pm EST
I’m sitting in our great little cabin room at Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park writing this just past hiker midnight.
We just got back from viewing a stunning sunset over the valley below, Massanutten Mountain beyond and the ever expanding Chicopeechee. We had a great family catchup and dinner (including a delicious blackberry cobbler and blackberry ice cream) at the Big Meadows Lodge and the spectacular sunset began to evolve quickly as smoke from the fire pit just below the dining area sent aromatic summer scents our way, enhancing the moment.
Fielden Stream and I arrived at the trailhead at Smith Roach Gap around 130. We drove 5 hours last night and 3 hours today to get here from Connecticut. This was a section we hiked part of last year with the kids. They were missed today. I wanted to complete this bit as a first, warm-up hike of the trip. It was about 4.6 miles and with the side jaunt to the Hightop hut and back, it clocked in around 5 miles. We also reunited a thru hiker there with his croc which was dropped on the trail and we found on the hike up.
We were silent for much of the hike, hoping for a bear sighting and making the 1,000ft climb and ascent at our own paces with some nice shared moments and vistas in between.
Tomorrow we’re camping at Big Meadows campground after an 8.3 mile hike, though we are not hiking into the campground as originally planned. We hope the family can join us for a picnic or BBQ at the campsite tonight. Lets hope the weather is as great!