Appalachian Trail, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, DAY 5

July 4, 2018

Happy Independence Day!

Yesterday we went up to Skyland for dinner with the family, and saw another bear, this time grazing on the side of skyline drive at dusk.

Today as planned, Fielden Stream and I did another A.T. section in Shenandoah National Park from South River Falls Picnic Area (with A.T. access .1 down the South River Falls trail) to the Lewis Mountain Campground Picnic Area where we left off on Sunday. This was a 6 mile section. We decided on splitting the 9 miles left that we planned to do due to the high temps and humidity.  We will do the last 3 tomorrow before we leave the park. While we haven’t done as many miles as we hoped, we feel taking these precautions was the right move. Bites and poison ivy can quickly become open infected wounds in the woods, especially if you’re scratching them a lot. Add the risk of dehydration and heat stroke in a week of solid 90+ temps and you’re looking at even more risk. The trail isn’t going anywhere. At the end of this trip we will have done about a quarter of the A.T in the park and that’s awesome!

We got an early start and while it was already heating up, we were in the green tunnel by 10am where the temps were much more bearable than anywhere exposed to the sun. Walking along the ridge lines we had many cool breezes and it was not a bad hike at all! We only had 2 climbs – one up Baldface mountain and one up Lewis mountain (I did the extra .3 mile spur up to the summit but the view was not much to write home about!). Neither were more than 700ft and both were the usual gradual nice climbs and descents we’ve experienced for the majority of the trail through here. Besides one steeper switchbacked descent, it was flat easy trail the rest of the way. We passed the Picosin cabin which is one of the ones you can rent from the PATC, and the Lewis Mountain campground as we reached the end of the hike.  We also had one bit where the A.T. and Skyline drive followed right next to each other.

We had a large raven swoop down over us at the campground, and also saw a large male and female deer as well as a family of turkeys crossing the trail. A small bit of rain moved in just after we got to our car at the end of the hike but it wasn’t long before the heat came back and burned everything dry. If we were still hiking I’m sure that dousing would have been welcome and refreshing.

I am considering a jaunt down to Dark Hollow falls or another walk down to Lewis Spring falls later to get that view finally, but we will see.

Miles: 6

Linus Miles (including out and back on summit spur trail): 6.6

– Linus

SNP Wayside blackberry milkshake

SNP Wayside blackberry milkshake

Black bear on Skyline drive

Black bear on Skyline drive

Wildflower #2

Wildflower #2

Wildflower #1

Wildflower #1

Nice trail work coming down a steep hillside

Nice trail work coming down a steep hillside

Fielden Stream descending Baldface mtn

Fielden Stream descending Baldface mtn

View from Lewis Mtn summit

View from Lewis Mtn summit