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Trekking to Shenandoah

Today, I am sharing my trek back to Shenandoah. During this trek, I had a lot of thoughts for my creative friends, which I will share in my next article. Today, let’s enjoy the journey.

I left New York yesterday and am departing my overnight boondocking spot at the Appalachian Brewing Company. They brew a great root beer along with some other equally great brews. Food is good too.

Places like this exist all over the country through programs like Harvest Hosts and Boondocker’s Welcome. They provide free overnight parking at businesses, farms, and homes of other fellow RVers.

After leaving the interstate, I enjoy the scenery as I got closer to the park. Finally, at Port Royal, I travel a state highway enroute to the Thorn Gap Park Entrance. It’s the closest entrance to my destination which is the Big Meadows Campground.

The road is a two-lane typical mountain road. What is that you ask? Well… it is filled with curves (the slow down or else type) and up and down hills.  My truck pulls the rig onward. It’s getting steeper and twisting more now as I near the entrance.

Having visited the southern end of the park earlier this year with just my truck I think, “I’m ready for what’s ahead I hope.” I travel on navigating steep grades, hairpin turns, and constant twists and turns. No problem, the slow speed limit in the park and early afternoon traffic makes the drive pleasant. I even get a glimpse out over the valleys occasionally.

However, I know the Cortana tunnel is ahead. So, I’m a bit nervous. “Clearance is posted at 12 foot 8 inches I should be good,“ I tell myself “My rig is under 12 feet.” My mind flashes to videos of AC units being ripped off the top of other trailers.  I arrive at the tunnel. It’s arched so I wonder is the clearance in the middle or at the sides. I see no traffic so right down the middle I go. No problem and later I arrive intact at the campground.

Next morning, I check in at the Ranger’s station and plan my hiking and photographing. I decide on three hikes: the Rose River Loop, the Rapidan Camp, and the Hawksbill Loop.

Next, I drove along Skyline Drive to check out and make a few photographs from the different overlooks. The views at the overlooks were nice but the sky was a bit hazy and gray. The photography is disappointing during the day although I did make one at the Hawksbill Summit I enjoy.

At the Hawksbill Summit, I learn from the workers that the sky haze is due to the drifting smoke from forest fires out west. I decide in the evening to return for the sunset at Naked Creek Overlook. In the evening I find the haze that made the sky so disappointing makes the sunsets stunning.

The next night I photographed at Hazeltop Ridge. Each night I find the overlooks fill quickly with others who come to watch the sunset. To get a good point of view, I move to the top of my truck bed and overlooking the crowd make my photographs.

If you get the chance, camp at Big Meadows Campground. You will enjoy watching as deer graze at the side of your campsite, the quiet starlite night, and the tranquility of the mountain trails. I sure did.

P.S. Want more like this? I send these articles out to friends, photographers, and art lovers who want to improve their skills, and explore their creativity or simply enjoy my thoughts and stories and I would love to include you.

Tell me where to send it and I’ll send you a copy of Seven Moments an eBook, as well as articles, sneak peeks of my new work, and very occasional info about resources to help you with this creative craft we love.