Fri, Oct 22 2004 - Camping Weekend in Shenandoah (View Original Event Details)|
|Participants:||Carrie Graff, Keith Ellis, Jesse Allen, Kate Copanic, Greg Thomas, Paula Moran, Tressa Ellis, Mark Reynolds, Leo Seung, John Putman, KC Yi, Steve Shelby, Marta Carriero, Matthew Waddell, Colin Babb, Bea Zheng, Sarah Keast|
Despite having a 100-degree fever and a swollen gland in my
throat the size of a golf ball, I headed to the carpool to meet
those who dared to brave a weekend in the woods with me.
Everyone but Steve, Marta, and KC met at the carpool. KC
was gracious enough to have left for the campsite earlier with
wood he donated from his backyard, and to get camp started.
Right from the carpool I could tell this would be a great group
as the laughter was immediate. After introductions, and
correcting the 'bad' directions I had written for everyone
(does anyone know how to get to 490?) we departed into the
wonderful traffic that is DC's Friday rush hour. On reaching
Front Royal (and exit 6, not exit12 or 4) we all eventually met
up at the first gas station to see what everyone wanted for
dinner. We settled on a Mexican place I had eaten at once,
and behold they had seating for all 15 of us! Jokes about
sleeping in tents after eating Mexican were sure to come up,
and after about an hour, we were back on the road for the last
two hours to Dundo campsite. Just outside Front Royal, our
caravan encountered a police road stop, and eight Maryland
driver's licensees later, we were off once again.
Making the first of three wrong turns that weekend, I, the
fearless but definitely confused leader, almost took the
caravan to West Virginia before doing a U-turn on Rt 33.
Good thing there were not many people on the road! The way
to Dundo on Skyline Drive was a bit treacherous as the fog
had set in heavy in spots, but alas, we all made it. True to his
word, KC had a rain tarp over the picnic table and a good fire
waiting. Steve and Marta had already started 'winding down'
with some drink, and after putting our tents up (some went up
easier than others), the rest of us indulged in our well-
deserved spirits-.kudos to Kate for the Rum and Coke! Colin
decided to take a little extra time with his tent, and after 10
minutes of excessive stake pounding, the group decided he
must be building a cabin over there in the dark-.so he was
dubbed Lumberjack. After some more joking, and staring into
the fire, we turned in for the night to ready ourselves for the
next day's hike.
Awakening to fog, but finally figuring out where the bathrooms
were, KC and Jesse started the much-needed coffee. Slowly,
people stumbled out of their warm sleeping bags and into the
crisp morning for a breakfast of bagels and fruit-.all except
for Matthew, or Sleeping Beauty, as he became to be known.
He came to life about ten minutes before we departed for our
hike, but managed to scarf down a quick bagel and get some
lunch put together.
After a short ride to the trailhead, everyone donned packs,
including Shadow, who elicited laughter from the group as
she showed her dislike for the pack with her pathetic
expression of canine disapproval. Heading down the trail
(and an almost wrong turn made by yours truly), the group
reached Chimney Rocks. As we contemplated the reason
why so many rock outcroppings bare that name, we enjoyed
the first of many views of the beautiful fall foliage and the
valley. The sun managed to brake out from time to time,
bringing out the different colors of the forest. Shenandoah
seemed to shift and change throughout the day with every
turn of a corner and every change in light. Heading down into
the valley, we encountered a beautiful waterfall where the
group decided it was a good place to brake for lunch.
Shadow made the rounds of begging for food, and her efforts
were not without rewards. Lunch was a bit abbreviated with
the chill in the air, so we were off for the remaining 6 miles of
the 9.5 mile hike.
Hiking out of the valley was a bit of a climb, but the breaks in
the trees offered some spectacular views. With a few stops to
take water and snack breaks, everyone soldiered on
brilliantly. Bea and I talked abou
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