Dark Hollow Falls May 18, 2014

Trees across rivers make nice photo ops.

I made the mistake of sending my girlfriend an article recently which described the adventures of a hiking cat named Millie. I thought the article read nicely and the idea seemed cool. However, my girlfriend took it a little too serious and felt we could train her cat, Bougie, to be a mountain master.  So, we tried Bougie out around my girlfriend’s place Sunday morning. To my surprise, she actually followed well. Though, she soon tired. I knew she would not last for an entire hike in the Shenandoah National Park. However, my girlfriend still dreams of it.  She truly is a dreamer and does not always think of all the possibilities.  This is probably both a good and bad trait. However, let’s not go there right now. The main thing I feared with taking the little kitty to the SNP is the number of dogs which people bring into the park.  She could be a quick snack. Although, I conceded that Bougie followed us well, my girlfriend decided that Bougie’s hiking adventures would not officially begin that day.

Always make sure to have your balance.

We however, planned on hiking somewhere in the park. After making our way to my parent’s, we looked over a few maps to pick a trail.  We picked out two and decided to let the Park Ranger at the entrance to Skyline Drive give us his opinion on either Dark Hollow Falls or Lewis Falls.  The distance between the two falls’ parking areas measures less than a mile.  The Ranger provided little to no insight on which hike he preferred.  Probably a veteran who needed a job and knows nothing about the park.  Sorry, I digress.

View from below the falls.  They went a little farther down as well. But, A full photo proved difficult to capture.

We chose Dark Hollow Falls because the trail covered more ground. We could hike longer and this would probably eliminate most of the tourists as well.  The actual falls rest pretty close to the parking area. Therefore, lots of people gathered on the trail near them.  However, after the falls the trail cleared out as we suspected. We hiked along the fire road for a while.   The fire roads in the park are nice for connecting trails. Yet, they seem boring compared to actual trails. We came across an old cemetery along the fire road which turned out to be a pleasant surprise.  We looked around at the old head stones. To our wonder some of them died in the 1990s.  So, I guess if you possess the family lineage you can still gain admission into this scenic graveyard.

Sign at the entrance to the cemetery.

After the cemetery we crosses Skyline Drive near Fisher’s Gap to finish off the hike on a small stretch of the Appalachian Trail. I always enjoy hiking on the Appalachian Trail due to the history and longevity of the famous path.  We worked our way up to the Big Meadows Camping Area and stopped for a few slices of cheese and crackers at one of the pick nick tables.  I washed my Swedish Fire Knife in a small spring rising from below a tree trunk.   I thought it very pretty and natural. We finished the hike with a visit to the Big Meadows convenience store for a couple Moon Pies and a Gatorade.  Interestingly, we found out the reason behind creating Big Meadows.  The workers who built Skyline Drive needed a place to stay within a close distance to their work site.  So, they cleared a large area and created Big Meadows.  It resembled many civil war battlefields and provided quite the nice view in my opinion.

So, out of the six waterfalls within the SNP, I now visited four. I still need to see Lewis Falls, and…one other.  I went to The South River Falls about a month ago with my brother and father.  I frequently visited White Oak Falls in my high school and undergraduate days.  I viewed the Cider Run Falls last Summer with my brother. He slide down the slide from the top. I lacked the desire and only attempted it from half way. Therefore, I need to tackle the next two in the coming months.  Although, I’m a little anxious about the number of snakes I’ll soon see on my trips.

Overall, I enjoyed the hike.  It was nice to see the falls and nice to spend some alone time with my girlfriend (something that doesn’t happen enough, in my opinion).







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