June 6, 2010
Skyline Drive twists along the high ridges of the Blue Ridge Mountains for 105 glorious miles through
After traveling just ten miles in our first 45 minutes on
Our first hike was the Frasier Discovery Trail, a 1.3 mile loop that ascended about 400 feet to reveal some spectacular panoramic views and overlap with a segment of the
After our first hike, we drove to a pleasant picnic area in the woods, made sandwiches, and planned our next hike, to
The Dark Hollow Trail descended steeply for nearly a mile to the base of the falls. Dark Hollow got darker and darker as we were enjoying the seventy foot tall falls and trying to capture their beauty in our photographs. Shortly after we started back up the trail, the sky let loose a deluge, and within minutes the trail became a waterfall. It was a perfect illustration of a fact we learned from one of those overlook signs this morning—an inch of rain in the mountains translates to 200 million gallons of water running down to supply the needs of people in the valley below. The rain inspired us to actually scramble up the sloppy slope faster than we went down.
We were soaked despite our rain jackets. Worse still, as soon as we drove out of the parking lot, we realized the clouds had descended just as we were traversing the highest point of the drive. At 3,680 feet, we were in a windy low visibility cloud bank.
It was about twenty miles to the nearest road off the mountain, and we took it gladly, even though we were thirty miles short of our intended finish line. The tranquil rural landscapes of the Shenandoah Valley—lots of livestock and rolling fields of hay and corn—were a welcome relief from the wind-tossed clouds up in the higher elevations.
We took a small detour on our way to