We were in Shenandoah National Park by 10am. We were pumped.
Ashley was in charge of making the camp site reservation for this Saturday night. She choose to stay in the campsite called "The Meadow". Shenandoah is heavily forested and high in the mountains but this site happens to be right in the middle of an awesome meadow that was teeming with wildlife. People were literally dodging deer to put their tents up. It was amazing.
We jumped on the first hike before we got to the campsite. Sadly, this resulted in an uneventful waterfall. The hike was nice but the falls overlook was overgrown and the waterfall was difficult to see. There was no way to climb down to the bottom. Wild raspberries were all over the trails and I am not going to lie, several ended up in my mouth. The highlight of this nearly 3 hour hike was at the overlook but it was not the falls. It was the first spot of wildlife. There were three snakes coiled up on the ledge, two of them copperheads and the other was a rat snake. Menacing.
We got to see several outstanding waterfalls throughout the day. From my experience, most National Parks are very tourist friendly, meaning very light hikes and many of the attractions have parking lots and were easy to drive to. Shenandoah did not work quite like that. Many of the hikes were no joke and several miles long. It very nice to be outside in the wooded mountains for so long but it put us in a position that we needed to pick and choose what we would make time for.
One of the best waterfalls of the trip was Dark Hollow Falls. The fall was in three sections and we were even able to climb to the top! It was one of the best waterfalls I have ever seen and as Ashley and I were driving back to Atlanta this fall kept popping into my mind as one of the best parts of the trip.
After several more waterfall hikes including an outstanding 4 hour hike around Rose River Falls we decided to call it a night. Rose River Falls was a nice waterfall but what was more impressive was the several miles of hiking along the river bank.
As the sun began to set, we took our first walk through the meadow. It was awesome. The deer and wild flowers were all around us as the sun set on the mountains. Gorgeous. This is where I got some of the best pictures of the trip.
A good nights sleep under the stars after a long day in the woods set the tone for what we knew was going to be a great adventure.
Dark Hollow Falls