Maryland Outdoor Club
Sun, Mar 19 2006 - Bipolar Shenandoah Adventure (View Original Event Details)

Event Organizer(s): Jackie Putman, John Putman
Participants:Jackie Putman, John Putman, Beverly Hoeftman, John Fogel, Maureen Wingfield, Adam Miller, Keith Ellis, Tressa Ellis, Ian Wright, Corinne Deehan, Cynthia Hildenbrand, doug hanford, Lori Frazier, Rebecca Frankenberger, Scott Davis, Cynthia Di Pasquale, Kathy Di Pasquale, Erin Green, charles lewis

Write Up:

What a b-e-a-u-tiful day!

We gathered sleepily at the pre-carpool carpool in Columbia, did some meager introductions and assigned cars. Surprisingly, this was accomplished despite the lack of coffee in several attendees. A hardy bunch indeed.

The trip to the actual carpool was uneventful and thankfully without traffic. We arrived at the Vienna Metro station and awaited the remainder of our group. It was here that official, not-so-groggy introductions took place. After again assigning cars to their passengers, we were off. Into the Great Blue (Ridge) Yonder!

After a couple of stops, most noticeably at the Sunnyside Farms Market, an interesting little market with organic food, Virginia wines and a little pub in the back, we made it to Shenandoah National Park. We then headed south on Skyline Drive to the White Oak Canyon trail head.

Upon our arrival, we did yet another round of introductions. Knowing everybody’s name in case of an emergency seemed like a good idea on a hike with the word “canyon” in it. After suiting up, we were off down the trail.

This segment of the trail heads completely down hill toward an overlook of the canyon itself. Along this downhill route, we crossed many bridges going over crystal clear streams. We also saw a few fallen trees and some pretty good scenery. White Oak Run was especially impressive. After completing the easy part of the hike, we settled in at the main canyon overlook and had lunch.

After lingering at the overlook, perhaps hesitant to leave such beauty, we packed up and took off to retrace our route. Now a completely uphill path, the hike entered into its moderate phase. We huffed and puffed our way back to the trail head. Refreshingly, even though we had just traversed this same path, it still seemed like a new trail. Needless to say, we took a few more breaks on the way up than on the way down. Once back at our cars, we left the peaks of the park to plummet to the depths of the caverns.

Our adventure into the steamy yet cool undersurface of the earth began with a simple introduction from Matt. Matt guided us adeptly through the caverns on an eerily lit, winding path. Every formation was more spectacular than the last. The group couldn’t get enough of the stalac-pipe organ. We could, and did, get enough of Matt’s corny jokes and horrible puns.

Back on the surface, we checked out the gift shop and some even took home some mementos of our journey. Then, the group splintered. Some decided to call it a day and return home. A few decided to check out the Car and Carriage Caravan Museum within the Luray Caverns complex. With the goal of the trip accomplished, we went our separate ways and bid a fond farewell to our compatriots.

I hope everyone had as much fun as we did!

--John and Jackie

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