Maryland Outdoor Club
Sat, Aug 11 2007 - Difficult Hike at Little Devils Staircase (View Original Event Details)

Event Organizer(s): Lucas Fisher
Participants:Lucas Fisher, Maria Maranto Dickey, Deanna Shapiro, Bryan Frank, Janine Yieh, Pamela Fasolo, Erik Bird, Joe John, Faron Hice, Sarah Greenblatt, Matt Goman, Jim Polfer, Shawn Ali, Maia Schoonmaker, michael thomey, Stuart Levy, Mike John, Jerry Wright

Write Up:
We met up at the Vienna metro before making our way to Shenandoah. In Front Royal we stopped at our favorite gas station to empty their shelves of donuts and bagels, and drain their coffee pots. Some souls shunned the delicious donuts and bagels for gut busters at the McDonalds next door. We drove through Front Royal and headed up into the Shenandoah mountains. Skyline Drive carried many bicyclists on hilly rides. As we gained altitude we hit thick fog. At Hogback overlook the fog enveloped us and drove home fears that it would rain and the cool temperatures would leave us shivering. Luckily someone had garbage bags for rain gear so at least two people would be dry in their fashionable Hefty whites. But 15 minutes later the fog was gone and a hot sun was beating down on us from a slightly cloudy sky. Sarah and Maia met us at the overlook. They had spent the night in Shenandoah in order to cross one more item off their long too do list, and of course, ensure they would be on time for a wonderful hike.

We started down the trail, the trees thankfully protecting us from the hot sun. We soon reached Little Devil's Staircase and made our way down the steep ravine. The stream down the ravine was a steady trickle, though much smaller than normal due to the hot weather. There were many slips and minor falls on the way down, but what kind of adventure is it without some minor scrapes and bruises! At one point the hike leader led Joe on a little side trip from the trail, though the rest of the group felt the the real trail was much more enticing. At the bottom of the ravine we began the first part of a steep climb back up to Skyline Drive. At the top of the first hill we lunched with the dead inhabiting a small mountain cemetery. The locals didn't seem to mind the disturbance. We continued onward and soon reached out next major climb up the winding Piney Ridge Trail. Those of us in the back had the pleasure of viewing a black bear cross the trail in front of us. While we waited for the bear to make her way off the trail. Maria, being the bear lover she it, did not want the bear to leave, so she decided to finish her giant salami sandwich in front of the bear. Lucky for us, this bear did not appear to like salami. After the bear had passed we met up with the rest of the group and continued to the parking lot to complete the first part of our hike. A couple hikers ended their hike here due to blisters and footwear malfunctions. The rest of us continued on for the second leg of the hike. We walked up the Appalachian Trail from the parking lot a couple miles before crossing Skyline Drive and once again heading downhill. We passed the top of the Little Devil's Stair and made our way back up the first trail we traveled that day to the parking lot. We then made our way to dinner at Jalisco in Front Royal. However, Shenandoah had one remaining treat for us all. As we drove down Skyline drive a mother bear and her two cubs crossed the road in front of us. Both the bears and people stopped to gaze on each other in wonder. Four bears in one day--amazing. Jalisco provided us with good eats aplenty, including their unique tortilla chips with coleslaw dip. From there we all departed, our bodies tired and our stomachs full.

- Lucas Fisher

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