Trip to Shenandoah

We’re back from our now traditional trip to Shenandoah National Park to see the Autumn colors. It’s always so nice to be up there, especially for DS. While on our long hike, he said: “I love the narrow steep parts. I feel ALIVE, Daddy!” It’s good for him to understand there’s more to living than Legos and Line Rider. :)

DD is always crazy about the animals. The first night 4 deer came within about 5 feet of our room’s back balcony. She said, “They came because they smelled my animal love.” She is a goofball.

We met with an older wife and husband my dad met on the internet doing some family history research: the Tabers. It was a fun visit for everyone. They are a charming couple, and we all had a good time visiting. The man is 92 years old, and gets around as well as ASL. Amazing. Fantastic people. Nancy and ASL came up for the meal, too, so there was plenty of conversation and getting-to-know-you. We hope to hook up with them again.

I did get my DAR certificate this week. I’m relieved to be official now.

We’ve done some pretty good hikes in the past 3 years of visits. Here are some notes for my reference:

Hikes for kids:

Dark Hollow Falls – about 2 miles, very steep in places, difficult uphill return, crowded. The beautiful Dark Hollow waterfall is found on this, the most popular trail in the park. Much of the trail is near water, and places are muddy and slippery because of so many visitors. Though the return is difficult, this hike is totally worth doing. DH ended up carrying DD out.

Rose River with Dark Hollow Falls – 4 miles, moderately difficult, easy uphill return. Some places have moderately steep drop offs, so hold hands and use a walking stick with the little ones. This hike takes about 2.5 hours, and includes 2 large waterfalls and many, many pools and cascades. About half of the trail follows water. The best part is after seeing lower Dark Hollow Falls, you can hike the last mile on the Rose River Fire Road, making the return MUCH easier than the strenuous (and crowded) Dark Hollow Falls trail, which is all uphill and steep. DD was almost too little. DH’s favorite.

Betty’s Rock – easy hike, 600 yards, downhill return. This is a less popular hike, and it’s good for kids. The hike ends on a rocky point overlooking the valley, so hang on to the little kids. This lesser known hike starts on the right hand side of the Crescent Rock overlook.

Stony Man – moderately easy hike, downhill return, popular. This popular hike starts from a parking area at Skyland. There are flyers at the base of the trail with notes that match markers along the trail with information about trees and history of the park. Very, very fun for kids. The view at the end from the stony man is great. This hike also ends at a rocky overlook, so hang on to the kids. Though larger, I think this place is a little easier to watch the kids on. My personal favorite.

Little Stony Man Trail – 1 mile long moderately easy hike, short, downhill return. This trail ends at an overlook, too, but I’ve never actually seen the view. Our last visit was too foggy and rainy to see anything. The hike was nice, though. You’ll run into real back-country backpackers here.

Nice Overlooks:
* Jewell Hollow
* Timber Hollow
* Spitler’s Knoll
* Tunnel Parking
* Signal Knoll