I had the day off Wednesday, and - ankle still gimpy after nearly 8 months - I headed to the mountains for two short hikes in Shenandoah National Park. I am doing more hiking in the coming week, hopefully a good bit more, and I wanted to test my ankle and endurance without going nuts about it.
I did this hike as a 3.9 mile loop, and from Lewis Falls (one of the tallest waterfalls in the park) to the high point on the Appalachian Trail for the return, you probably gain about 800 feet. So while it is not super difficult, it is not a stroll in the park either, and you will get a workout.
For wildlife, I saw a chipmunk on the trail, and when I was admiring the view of the Shenandoah Valley from Black Rocks near the high point, a friendly junco hopped over the rocks and came within 3-4 inches from my boot!
Here are some photos from my first hike of the day to lovely Lewis Falls, starting with a lovely swallowtail at the start of the hike, where butterflies and bumblebees were everywhere.
You cannot see the entire falls from the viewpoint. It is something like 85 feet high. Here is the top part. I hung out here for a while, chatting with a young Mennonite family out for a hike.
Not far from Lewis Falls is the first real view of my hike.
The Lewis Falls Trail was mostly steep and rocky, but I came on this lovely level area that would be tempting to camp at - if one had water.
The loop completed with a mile or so on the storied Appalachian Trail.
I hiked a side trail to Black Rocks, with spectacular views of the Shenandoah Valley. Click on the photo to enlarge the panorama.
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