Yesterday we continued moving northeast.
I had said that the road we took into our last campground was pretty scary. Talking to the bus driver that took us to Sharp Top, he said they regularly get trucks stuck on the road because the corners are so sharp and banked that one of their drive wheels lifts off the ground and then just spins. I guess I was lucky.
The road to the east off the Parkway was MUCH easier. Once we were down it was a 4 lane highway for most of the way to our next campground at the Misty Mountain Camp Resort. We are now near the top of the Blue Ridge Parkway which is also the bottom of Shenandoah National Park.
The campground is pretty good. We are out in the open field section so Jennie can have her TV but most importantly we have full hookups and can run the air conditioners. They do have many shaded sites.
We snuck in amongst all the much more expensive Class A’s.
The resort name actually applies here. They have a pool, horseshoes, basketball and there is even a stage so I guess they have music occasionally.
The water in the pool and the plastic on the jumping pad were too hot for me to want to use them.
Behind us there is another row of sites, a creek and a wall of trees. Last night the fireflies were out so I just sat and watched for a while. I didn’t think they would show up in a picture.
Today we drove back up the Blue Ridge and drove down from the top of the Parkway to milepost 5 and the Humpback Rocks.
There are several choice for this hike. You can do the 2 mile out and back hike to the Rocks which climbs 700 vertical feet. Or you can do a 4.5 mile loop hike that starts with the climb to the Rocks and then uses part of the Appalachian Trail and a lot of very long and gentle switchbacks to get back to the starting point.
We said we would decide once we got to the top but we were pretty sure we would do the loop. What the book didn’t say was that after climbing the 700 feet, the gentle descent goes down 1000 feet and then you climb again back to the start.
It was very windy on the ridge which made the heat much more tolerable. There were a few times that we were sheltered but we were in the trees so it wasn’t too bad. Still, 4.5 miles is a long way for us and we were VERY glad to see the car.
The section of the trail from the parking lot to the rocks didn’t fool around. No switchbacks here. It went straight uphill. It we ever lost track of the trail, we just looked for the steepest way to go and there it was.
The first section was wide and smooth so it made the climb a bit easier but it was still very steep,
Even the benches had to be angled.
We used every distraction to take a break.
Because the trail was so straight, there was no mystery as to how far you still had to go, which of course made it seem longer.
Once we turned the corner the stairs started. First a few wood ones.
Then evenly spaced stone steps.
Then just jumbles of rocks. This is one spot where we guessed and picked the steepest way up.
You had to take a short side trail off of the loop to get to the rocks.
The view as you come out on the rocks.
As we were hiking up a large group of young girls passed us, making it a bit crowded up on the rocks. After a while they did leave and we had they place to ourselves.
You could climb up the rocks on either side.
On the north side, looking south, farther up the hill.
On the south side, looking north, back the way we came.
Out at the very tip, looking north.
You could see the line of the mountains of Shenandoah National Park.
With the valleys on either side.
Lots of group pictures and selfies going on.
It was very windy and the gusts coming up at the edge of the rocks were very strong. It made standing there somewhat scary.
Jennie stayed down where she was comfortable until everyone left.
Then she came part way out. It was a pretty steep climb to get up.
Our very safe and shady lunch spot.
Some Appalachian Trail hikers came for a look.
This gives you a bit of an idea of the wind strength.
Heading back to the trail we first had to climb up for a while before joining the Appalachian Trail to start our decent. We were surprised at how gentle and LONG the switchbacks on the AT were.
After a while it got pretty monotonous. We looked for whatever distractions we could find.
The Appalachian Trail mark.
Once we got to the bottom we had to climb back up on an old pioneer road used to cross the Blue Ridge at one of the gaps. It is called the Old Howardsville Turnpike.
By now we were quite tired so this was tough.
The road had quite an extensive and tall stone retaining wall.
Back at the car we could see up to the Humpback Rocks.
We needed a long nap after we got back to the RV.