Monday, October 12, 2009

Shenandoah National Park

Waynesboro, VA. The best kept secret on the trail. Nobody ever knows anything about this town before they get there. You think its just another town on the trail. It doesn't have some famous hotel or hostel like Duncannon or Kincora, it doesn't have a fancy festival like Damascus or Franklin. What it does have is the nicest people in the country (well maybe tied with Delaware Water Gap, PA). The town is off trail and its a dangerous hitch, but there is a welcome center with a list of names and phone numbers of people in town that will come pick your smelly hiker butt up and give you a ride to town. And once you get to town you're hard pressed to walk anywhere without tons of people trying to drive you around.
Jon, Stunned Mullet and I where at the post office and this lady offered us a ride back to the trail. We told her we would be in the PO for about a half an hour and she said "well okay. I'll be waiting in the green suburban over there" and waited on us. Such a great town.

and they have giant pizza.

Stunned Mullet taking a lazy day with Jon and I.


Azalea making everything smell like bubblegum.

I only saw 3-4 Rhodendron bloom the entire trail. I guess thats what you get for an early season hike.

Lousewart is one of my favorite flowers and I don't know why.

The AT is kinda odd in SNP. Especially for a national park. It pretty much just crisscrosses this road the entire way through the park. You're rarely more than a half mile or so from the road. You cut through a lot of picnic areas, campgrounds, and pass some "Waysides" which sell delicious blackberry shakes, and overpriced food and stuff like that.

Terrapin Station is a nice little hostel near the end of SNP run by the Grateful Greenpeace Guy. He likes some band or something. I stayed here with StuMullet, The Boss, Spammy and Earl. It was a real nice peaceful hostel stay that I was trying to avoid. I'm glad I didn't. The problem is that The GreenpeaceGuy hiked the PCT and had some books on it. I stayed up late reading them and developed this awful desire to do that trail next....

I was at an amazing peace in SNP. Its an odd park. Everything worth seeing is off the AT so if you just stick to the white blazes you miss most of the sights and beauty (why else would you hike?). This is where I came to the realization that I was going to intentionally slow down and enjoy everything. I had an awesome day where I hiked 12 hours and only made it 13 miles. well I did more laying around and watching the birds than actually hiking.
This is pretty much also where my hiking crew changed. Some of my friends went home around this time, or hiked at a different pace than myself and I met most of the people I finished with around here.

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