Forum Index > Trip Reports > Shenandoah National Park loop (Virginia, Feb/24/’24)
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GaliWalker
Have camera will use



Joined: 10 Dec 2007
Posts: 4930 | TRs | Pics
Location: Pittsburgh
GaliWalker
Have camera will use
PostMon Feb 26, 2024 11:51 am 
Blackrock - Trayfoot Mountain - Paine Run loop One of my favorite spots in Shenandoah National Park is Blackrock Summit, which has some interesting boulder gardens. Yesterday, I did a loop hike in Shenandoah, centered around Blackrock Summit. The forecast was all over the place and had been constantly changing in the lead up to hike day: rain, misty conditions, possibly snow, and maybe thunderstorms. I mentally prepared myself for all of them. I knew I wasn’t going to get a sunrise, so I left the house at a more reasonable hour, to arrive at the Blackrock Summit trailhead on Skyline Drive at 10:30am. I picked up the Appalachian Trail and hiked the 0.5mi to Blackrock Summit in no time. Due to the unpredictable forecast, I decided to get my photography at Blackrock Summit out of the way, and not leave it for my return (and potentially better light). I scuttled around taking selfies and exploring the boulder gardens for about 1.75hrs, at which point a wintery mix of rain and snow started to fall, which put a stop to the proceedings.
1- Looking towards Trayfoot Mountain (on the right). I would roll over its summit and then descend into the valley in the far distance (the furthest bump at center).
1- Looking towards Trayfoot Mountain (on the right). I would roll over its summit and then descend into the valley in the far distance (the furthest bump at center).
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I left Blackrock Summit on the Trayfoot Mountain Trail. Due to the rain, I didn’t take many pictures, just the odd documentary snap. This meant that I made quick time, as I rolled over Trayfoot Mountain’s summit – no views due to wooded terrain – then over a few more sub-summits, and finally down to Lefthand Hollow in the valley below. It was raining quite heavily by this time.
4- Trayfoot Mountain Trail
4- Trayfoot Mountain Trail
5- Buzzard Rock in the distance
5- Buzzard Rock in the distance
I rock-hopped Paine Run, and then began the climb back up to Skyline Drive. Paine Run Trail was broader and more consistently graded than the Trayfoot Mountain Trail, so I managed to maintain nearly a 3mph pace for the climb. As I reached Blackrock Gap the rain turned to wet snow. I picked up the Appalachian Trail, heading north towards Blackrock Summit, and was soon walking through a winter wonderland. The boulder garden at Blackrock Summit was a totally different landscape than what I’d last seen 4hrs ago. A stiff wind was blowing the snow sideways and thick mist had the visibility down to a couple dozen yards. Thankfully, the trail skirted the rock pile crowning Blackrock Summit, and I didn’t have to go over it, like I did earlier in the day when doing photography, because the footing had become slippery. When I reached my car, it was covered in a 3in blanket of heavy wet snow. Skyline Drive was all white too, which made for a slow and careful drive for a few miles, until I dropped about 500ft in elevation and the snow turned to rain. Yup, the unpredictable weather forecast had been spot-on: a little bit of everything, predictable in its unpredictability.
6- Appalachian Trail
6- Appalachian Trail
Stats: 10.2mi, 2400ft elevation gain

'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!" Photography: flickr.com/photos/shahiddurrani

Snowdog, Anne Elk, Bernardo, awilsondc, John Mac, meck, RichP, gb
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Chief Joseph
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Joined: 10 Nov 2007
Posts: 7709 | TRs | Pics
Location: Verlot-Priest Lake
Chief Joseph
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PostMon Feb 26, 2024 12:13 pm 
Nice. When I was a teenager I went on several trips with my Dad around the country and the Shenandoah Valley is the place that most sticks out in my mind nearly 50 years later.

Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.

GaliWalker
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