I got off early enough Friday and headed directly to Shenandoah National Park for a little weekend backpack trip. It was close to 6 pm when I arrive, so I pulled into Gravel Springs Hut parking lot, hiked down near the shelter, set up my hammock, then sat back and enjoyed.
The next morning was a frosty 22F as I hiked out headed to Pass Mt, an moderate 12 mile hike. The scenery along the way was great.
Pass Mt. has an excellent camp site/hang area. There were 3 gents. already at the shelter, so after I set up the hammock I sauntered over for a little socializing. We ended up playing a rather fun set of Chess. There are 2 boards, and 2 teams. Myself and one gent. sat on one side, and were white. The other 2 sat on the other side, and were black. We began play, and each time an opponents piece was captured it was given to the other team member who could then put that piece in play, anywhere on the board, as one of their turns. Very interesting, and quite fun!
The forecast was calling for snow showers in the early morning hours. So, me being me, I hit the hammock early and got up at midnight to night hike in the falling snow back to my car. This was a unique experience, and I really enjoyed it. Especially when my headlamp picked up 2 sets of eyes staring at me just up hill from where I was. I, knowing the deer in this park and how they just stand and stare, said "HI deer!" Then one of the eyes climbed up a tree. As my brain went "deer don't climb trees?" I realized it was a Momma and her cub! The first bears I've seen this year. Too bad it was dark, snowing, and my camera was deep in my pack at this point. Too kewl!!
Excellent trip. Hope to get out again soon!