Yesterday was going to be a beautiful fall day, and because of some upcoming things, it might be my last chance to get up in the mountains with fall colors, so I decided to go for a couple of hikes by myself. Usually, I prefer hiking with others, but I had to be home by 4 or so to go to a concert (Vishten, beyond fantastic, and if you ever have a chance to see them, run, don't walk. They were amazing!). So I decided to get a very early start, hike at my own pace, and leave the mountains by 2 so as not to be late. I was out of my house by 6:10 and headed towards Shenandoah National Park, buying a new annual pass at the entrance station.
I drove about 10 miles up the Skyline Drive and pulled into the parking lot. I was ready to start up Turk Mountain before 8:30. I chatted with a group of boyscouts and their leaders from Hampton. They had camped out the night before and were going to be out the rest of the weekend. They surely had glorious weather. It was crisp and cool, with a strong wind at times. I put on a second layer, shouldered my pack, and hit the trail for the first of two hikes. This was going to be fairly steep, and mostly a nice hike through the forest and up the mountain. The first little bit was on the Appalachian Trail.
Here is a topo map and elevation profile of my out-and-back route of about 2.3 miles. To see exactly where I was, click here.
I peered into this cave not far from the top, but didn't see anything.
A large rock fall on the way up looked like a great place for rattlesnakes, but I didn't see any.
Turk Mountain has a small, rocky summit. There is not a lot of room up there to spread out. The view from the top is wonderful at 360 degrees. These next three photos show it to the west over Virginia's Shenandoah Valley panning north to the mountains in the park. I could look almost straight down from the top of Turk Mountain's small summit. You can see that there is still a lot of green. From here, I retraced my steps back to car, meeting only the boy scouts that I saw in the parking lot as they hiked up the mountain for the view.
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