Monday, June 11, 2012

More Photos from my Bear Church Rock Hike

You can see an overview and maps of Sunday's hike to Bear Church Rock in Shenandoah National Park here.  It was a great hike, but left me quite worn out.  So I am taking a little time tonight, feeling rested, to write more about the hike, with photos.  Most of the photos were taken on the outbound leg of the out and back hike.

For a change, I took along my turtle hiking staff that my sister Ann gave me for my birthday a couple of July's ago. Definitely having a hiking stick helps a lot in the steeper sections.

 Isn't this plant the perfect Valentine?
 I saw some pretty spring flowers on the hike, in addition to lots of mountain laurel, which is one of my favorites.  Bumblebees loved the white ones.

Lush hardwood forest for almost all of the hike was the order of the day.  Bird song kept me company the whole way, although I didn't actually see many birds - other than a junco and a ruffed grouse.

My hiking pal "Hawkeye" calls these logs "God logs."  He says that God puts them there for people who need to rest for a moment.  Who am I to argue with God?  I took a break here.
The red-back salamander was one of three Amphibian species I found on the hike (you will meet the other two later).  I kept a constant eye out for timber rattlers, but didn't see any snakes.
 This part of the trail came fully "fernished."
This would be a great campsite, except there was no water anywhere nearby.  Speaking of water, my original plan was to continue hiking along the Jones Mountain trail and return by a different route, eventually joining the Laurel Prong trail at a stream, where I would fill my water bottles.  But as I mentioned in the original post about the trip, there was a discrepancy between my guidebook and the GPS about how far to travel.  So I wasted an hour looking for the path to the rocks.  Because of this, I decided to do an out and back rather than adding two or three more miles, but with no water source to fill my bottles, I rationed water to my remaining half liter for the five mile hike out.  I was some thirsty at the end of the hike, and guzzled a bottle of Gator Aide and a can of ginger ale that I had on ice back at the car.  I regretted not carrying a third liter of water for the hike as a precaution on a warm day.  It would have been well worth the extra two pounds.  The best laid plans....
I passed this snail on my hike in to the rock.  We were both going in the same direction.  Had he been going the other way, I never would have caught him on the way out, I am pretty sure.
Here is a panoramic view from Bear Church Rock.  While there was not a church there, God did provide a magnificent cathedral to gaze upon, eh? (Click to see an enlarged view)


  1. What a terrific hike! Love the heart leaf. : ) Beautiful scenery and yes, God sure has given us a beautiful world to enjoy and take care of!

  2. It was indeed! Wasn't that leaf cool?

  3. I love your blog! I'm going to give Bear Church Rock a try this weekend.

  4. Thanks for the comment. I am glad you are enjoying the blog. That is a really fun hike and this weekend, you might still see some nice fall foliage. Art