Wednesday, October 24, 2007

... the Shenandoah

The car was packed, the directions printed, and I was ready to pick Jeff up from work in a few hours. It was Friday and we were headed to the Shenandoah to camp along Skyline Drive and the Appalachian Trail. The plan was to hike in to our site and cook our food on the fire but Gov. Kaine, only hours before, had declared outdoor fires illegal due to the drought. I placed few calls to Loft Mountain to see if they were going to enforce it, and a formed backup plan to head down the Blue Ridge Parkway to North Carolina just in case. In the end we decided to head to the Shenandoah in faith. Four and a half hours later as we were turning into the park, a ranger returned my call -- fires were going to be acceptable.

Our site was amazing. As if getting one of the last three tent sites wasn't enough, I think we got one of the best sites. We had to hike down quite a way so it was a good bit off the road. A few yards more and we were at the AT, a few yards beyond that was a cliff with a lovely view. As soon as we got our illicit fire started Friday, it began to rain pretty hard, but that didn't dampen our moods.


Breakfast began early the next morning and involved frying up some bacon and then frying up some eggs in the reserved grease. Y-U-M. Sop it up with some ember toast and we were good to go. Down the Doyle River Trail that is. We were eager to see the two waterfalls that were a few miles downhill. Picking up the AT at our site and taking it to the Doyle River Trail head, we were off -- we even spotted a few occurrences of bear poo along the way.

Photo courtesy of Jeff

One of the most surprising parts of the trip was when we ran into Scott & Katina and family on the trail. They were staying in the very same campground and pulled in only minutes after us. How bizarre! Katina earned my respect as she looked like she was doing pretty well on the upward half of the hike at 5-ish months pregnant. I, however, didn't do so well going up. In my pride, and in the face of Jeff's playful taunting, I tried to keep with Jeff's pace. He ended up carrying my pack and getting the car for me at the trail head because I'd gotten sick. How humbling.


Another highlight - Dinner. We made shish-ka-bobs with cubed steak, button mushrooms, red onion, green bell pepper, and summer squash topped with a dash of garlic salt, wrapped in heavy duty foil and tossed into the fire for a few minutes. Heaven. Mmm. We ate so well.

Sunday we packed up and drove to the Graves Mountain Apple Festival. We both remembered the festival from years earlier when we went with the SGC singles. We walked the festival, visited the animals, and picked apples to make apple sauce (I'll be using Joy's recipe) then went on our way.


The drive home was dotted with fun stops including an antique store and a few vineyards where we partook in some tastings. It was a perfect fall weekend.


13 comments:

Sarah said...

Looks like a wonderful weekend! I must admit, I'm a tad jealous...Great pictures.

Jessica Rockey said...

Ya'll are such a fun couple! Beautiful pictures. See you on Sunday!

Bekah said...

Fun Fun...still cant believe one of your stops wasnt to see your dear friends Bobby and Bekah..as you drove through Richmond. Sigh...oh well! ;)

hosanna said...

It sounds wonderful and your picture were so pretty. It makes me wish I was there!

mindy said...

'Chelle, these pictures are beautiful and it sounds like you had a wonderful time! I'll call you soon to catch up. :-)
min

Billie said...

These are really great pictures. And I loved your story about your weekend. How fun. I want to do that trip. You and Jeff look so cute in the last picture. Thanks for posting all about your time for us.

Ginger said...

sounds perfect! Its look amazing there-what a treat to go! And to end the trip with some antiquing!! You guys are so cute

Catherine said...

Great pictures, Meesh. Sounds like a fab weekend. It was certainly beautiful weather for camping - even with the rain.

Kimmie said...

Looks like a fun and relaxing time! What a beautiful weekend! Dog park, its a date! Love you!

Jenn said...

What fun!!! Glad you guys had such a great time, I remember going to Apple Festivals! :)

Judy said...

Looks like a fun time! Great pictures. I remember camping there for a night with the boys & they loved it. So pretty up there.

Bethany said...

Awwww you both look so cute. What a fun trip. I am enjoying everyones fall pics

Heather Michelle said...

What a great weekend! I love Shenandoah. Some of my dad's family lives near there and I love it when we go see them in the fall! Everything is so beautiful. Your pics brought back good memories. Thanks for the post!