Hazel Country Hike 2/28/2016

Quick post here on a weekend hike. The lady friend and I decided to take advantage of the very nice, and rather unusually warm February weather. We tried a new hike. Hikes are fun, and tons of trails exist, but just like anything else, you tend to stick with what you know. This time we ventured off the beaten path (metaphorically speaking, of course) and tried a trail in the Hazel Country portion of Shenandoah National Park. To keep it simple, stupid, I’ll comment on the photos in a chronological order.

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Park boundary moved a little since the last time I checked. New map edition seems needed. Make that money Mr. Park!

If you go through the trouble of chopping up the wood, why not remove the sign and place it on a standing arbor? This rested right beside the trail head, and I can only imagine, this sign won’t serve it’s purpose for much longer. That sucks, man. It’s frustrating when things can no longer serve their purpose because someone or something won’t help them out. Now, that I come to think of it, I didn’t try to remove or replace the boundary sign either. I’m no better. I’m no better…

Nice, sunny weather and it warmed up quite a bit. We sweated well…

I snapped this number at the trail head. The drive in is pretty for the most part, but the last few properties seem to have taken a turn for the worse (heroin dens???). A few trailers and lots of trash create a less than ideal aesthetic appeal. Trash is not from hikers, but the landowners, just to clarify. You can also park about a half mile closer to the main road and complete a longer hike that begins on another trail. We opted for our option more out of winging it than planning. I knew lots of trails lined this region however, I refrained from picking out a specific trail, more out of laziness than anything else.

Currently writing post side note: I recently picked up a pair of super-cheap earbud headphones. This may be the second time I’ve used them and the sound is cutting out already. How the hell am I supposed to passively rock out to Danzig (I’ve been listening to them a lot lately), while sipping my coffee shop brewed, peppermint herbal tea with this shit happening? Moral of the story, drop a few more bucks on a nice pair of noisemakers. Rant, over…

The glare makes for tough reading. “Pine Hill Gap TR. Right, JCT. of Hazel MTN. TR. & Hot Short MTN. TR. 2.1 Right”

Where were we? Yeah. We took the Pine Hill Gap Trail for a good little hike. The beginning of the trail runs through a small creek bed. If my hypothesis proves correct, this is one of the head water springs for the Hazel River (Being situated in Hazel Country, I think it a fair guess).  We hiked for 0.3 miles before reaching the trail marker pictured above. We got wet. Or, at least, our hiking boots connected with a few puddles along the way.

Can’t beat that view! It’s all based on perspective…and lighting…and…

Love my green Patagonia hat, with sweat stains and all. I hope to be its friend and companion for many years to come.

Kasey stopped to stretch out her gastrocnemius and soleus muscles on a tree and I managed to snag one of those in the moment photos that I wish more people would take of me. Yes, I am relatively vain and would like to have more artsy photos of myself. I wonder if most photographers think this way? Granted, I wouldn’t call myself a photographer, but you get the gist. I’m not a gymnast, Muary! If my orienteering skills hold true, I believe she is looking off toward Old Rag Mountain, which is one of those very popular hiking locations I try to see less of. Again, simply due to a desire to explore new territories.

We didn’t make it to the connecting trail and since we weren’t planning to be gone for too long we turned back after about two miles. In reality, we were pretty beat. The trail provides hikers with a few steep sections and they did their best to raise our heart rates and breathing. Kasey told me I looked silly in my attempt to stoic-ly pose (pictured above). What are girlfriends for?

Doing a little stream searching. Rocks are pretty.

Back to where we began. The stream can be seen on the left side of this photo. Once you move up the trail a little, the path and the stream become one and the same.

We stopped in Sperryville at Rudy’s Pizza and purchased the Old Rag specialty pie (told you that mountain was popular).This place is less than twenty minutes from my parents’ house and this was my first time. It was awesome! I see myself returning rather soon in the future.

The sun felt great on my fivehead.

In summary, it was a good hike and a little closer to Culpeper, Warrenton, Nova than most others. The views weren’t great, but the hike challenged us, which is always a good thing in my book. Additionally, we went somewhere new and created a memory. I like that.

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