Day 1 - Day Hike Shenandoah National Park (near Matthews Arm) to Route 340
Day 2 - Route 340 to Elizabeth Furnace
The trail then ascends again up the other side of Massanutten Mountain. This part of the mountain is rocky, but open so there are wonderful views of the North Fork of the Shenandoah and of the Shenandoah Valley. There are also some nice campsites up on top of the mountain. I was glad I dropped down over the other side before the afternoon thunderstorm kicked up though - there was almost no cover. As I came across he saddle of the mountain I began to see bear sign (scat, moved rocks, bear logs). As I dropped down into Elizabeth furnace something bear shaped and moving like a bear (so I'll call it a bear) ran downhill away from me. The descent into Elizabeth Furnace was very rocky and slick because of the morning rain. I found hiking poles to be a necessity. Overall this was a very enjoyable section of trail - mostly well blazed and well traveled. I'll be back on this one. For through hikers, there are water, privies and camping available at Elizabeth Furnace.
Day 3: Elizabeth Furnace to Shenandoah County Park
Days 4-6: Fetzer Gap (Route 600) - Capon Springs Road, West Virginia
|Views of Shenandoah Valley to the east|
|lunch break near Paddy Run|
|Sunset at Gerhard Shelter|
|East Coast Krumholtz|
The kids wanted to join me for the end of the week, but I thought it unwise to push on through the next sections as they're a bit long (13+ miles -that's for next summer). They requested a loop that we've done before. We hiked in about a mile on the Stoney Creek Trail and camped near the Stoney Creek. It's a campsite we love. The kids swam in the creek and the dog enjoyed all the new sights and smells. It was the first time we took the dog overnight. She did well with the backpack and fine while it was daylight, but she had a hard time settling at night and had a very difficult time with all of the strangers on the trail on Saturday. We forgot how crowded the National Forest can be with folks from Northern Virginia. So after a night with poor sleep and slow progress we all decided at lunch that we had been out long enough and it was time to be done with this year's backpacking trip. We headed home, cleaned up and went out to dinner - one happy family and one tired dog.