On Saturday morning I awoke to a simply gorgeous day. For the first time this year the temperatures were going to be in the mid 80’s. White puffy clouds were mixed with a deep blue sky. After kissing the wife goodbye, I headed to the Wendys in Manassas as this was our meeting place to start this adventure. Yes, the Wendys is still there, they just aren’t open for breakfast anymore. After Alex arrived we headed to Lovingston to meet up with Dave and Amanda who were camping nearby.
“Alex had to get out of his Jeep several times to take pictures and when I looked back from my Jeep, I saw a big grin on his face the whole time.”
After a brief driver meeting to discuss the day’s plans and a stop at the Food Lion/Subway/Gas Station we were off on our adventure. I think that Alex was wondering if we were ever going to get to the trail. I will have to admit that it is a long day trip. It had been a long time since I had last been on Shoe Creek and I was following my GPS and Map to the trail head. At one point the two did not match and I was not sure which way to go over the steel bridge. A quick shout out to one of the locals who were also enjoying the great weather confirmed that we were indeed on the right road. Soon after the bridge crossing we came to the trail head. A quick stop to air down and disconnect and we were once again moving.
The Forest still did not have much color to it and the trees did not have any leaves. This made for good visibility all around us. It had appeared that the area had some serious rain before we arrived and the stream crossings were very fun this day. A little bit further down the trail we decided to stop for lunch. Everyone took their lunch down to the creek and we ate on a big rock right at the edge of the creek. The water was so loud it almost made a normal conversation impossible. It was here that I learned that Dave and Amanda’s pet liked to play in the water. The only problem was that to dry off it wanted to be right next to me. Luckily, it was a nice warm day, even if the creek water was ice cold.
After lunch, we once again headed down the trail. Alex was very happy to get to flex his Jeep a little. At some points along the trail the vegetation was encroaching into the trail. I guess everyone needs a little custom pin striping. I do not know how the full size rigs do it all the time. We went by several groups that were camping along the way. At one point along the trail we came to an area that was posted on both sides of the trail. A brief discussion on if we should continue and a warning to stay on the trail ensued. Soon we were at the parking lot for the upper part of Crabtree Falls.
Since it was such a great day we all decided to take the hike to see the falls. Many people were at the falls, playing in and around the falls. After returning to our rigs we said goodbye to Dave and Amanda as they wanted to return to camp. Alex and myself were headed back home when Alex asked if we could still do another trail. It was approaching 4pm and we still had several hours of daylight still left. As we crossed the Blue Ridge Parkway I got an idea. I would try and find the trails that Keith had lead us on last fall. A short trip up the parkway and viola!! There it was. So Alex and I spent several hours exploring this area. I think that we hit every trail along this route. As the sun was setting, we were doing the decent from the mountain and I had picked the most challenging route straight down to the main road. Alex had to get out of his Jeep several times to take pictures and when I looked back from my Jeep, I saw a big grin on his face the whole time. I then realized what a really great day it had been.
We then went into town to treat ourselves to a steak dinner. After dinner we headed for home. I good time was had by all. We arrived home way after midnight. It had been a long but enjoyable day.
Trail report written by Bob Weaver. Pictures courtesy of Bob Weaver.