Memorial day weekend was long so when Tuesday rolled around I strongly considered sleeping until the morning ended, laying around in my pajamas, and then doing absolutely nothing…
Instead I woke up at 5:00am.
Philip had to work at 6:00am, so it was an excuse to drive him to work. We stopped at Starbucks, said our farewells and I was headed for the Virginia State line. The sun was rising behind me, and I was sipping on my coffee while listening to Taylor Swift sing her heart out. After the coffee ran out, I begin singing right along with Taylor. During my drive it sprinkled a few drops, it was sunny, it was cloudy. It was a little of everything. I saw fog at one point, I was getting excited for the adventure that awaited me.
I arrived at Shenandoah National Park’s North entrance around 7:30am. No one was there to greet me. Which, honestly I didn’t mind. I had misplaced my wallet before leaving the house so I didn’t have my national parks pass with me. I promised myself I would pay the park fee on my way out.
The Dickey Ridge Visitor Center didn’t open until 8:30am. I didn’t want to waste any of the soft morning glow so I drove along Skyline Drive. I saw a handful of view points, all breathtaking. The first trail head I spotted (admittedly there were probably others I missed) was Compton Gap. It is around mile marker 10 near the North District. There are two possible hikes at this trail head, #1 is Compton Peak, West and East. #2 is Fort Windham Rocks. #1 is 2.4 miles, #2 is 0.8 miles.
Now, I should have mentioned… I am not much of a hiker. I don’t have a lot of experience with it nor am I very confident in my abilities. I know I could do well, but this trip I was doing alone and not only do I have a limited amount of experience with hiking, I have even less (NONE at all) hiking alone. Now, that being said…
I set out for hike #2. I kept at it for a while, but I was so slow moving due to photographing all the nature I saw on the trail that it took a while. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment.
After getting back to the car I headed back towards Dickey Ridge Visitor Center. There I was promptly greeted by a Park Ranger (or something similar) who told me about the park and all the many hikes it had to offer. I started planning my next trip right then!
After chatting for a bit, I headed back to Skyline Drive. I wandered around many of the view points. I saw a bear! It was so neat. I wanted to snap a photo but I was so distracted that I was fumbling with my camera. The bear was just as scared of me as I was him. I imagine him running back to his friends to say “I saw a human!”, as I did the same about seeing a bear.
It was a beautiful day.
Post Script: I wore my Chacos. I love my Chacos.