Sunday, September 16, 2012

Day 6 - Shenandoah National Park Vacation

Shenandoah National Park Vacation
Day 6
Doyles River Falls and Jones Run Hike
Shenandoah National Park, VA
Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Today we would be making our way from our cabin in Standardsville, VA to our next accommodations in Waynesboro, VA.  I regretted not packing up the truck the night before, because it was pouring down rain when we got up and ready to hit the road.

The rain continued as we made our way to the Skyline Drive for our journey south.  We still managed to stop at several overlooks for a few quick photos.

View from the Skyline Drive

I could not check the radar on my I-Phone because this part of the Skyline Drive is a Cell Phone Service Dead Zone.  Despite the rain, I still wanted to go hiking, and maybe the first good rain of the week would help the waterflow for the waterfalls I would be checking out on my hike.

Amy wanted no part of hiking in the rain, so she dropped me off at the Doyles River Trailhead with plans of picking me up a few hours later at the Jones Run Trailhead a couple of miles down the road.

It was still raining pretty good for about the first mile along the Doyles River Trail.  I think I saw more Deer during this short section of trail than I have ever seen on one hike.  However, due to the rain, my camera bag was packed inside a plastic bag inside my pack and therefore I did not take any photos.

Fortunately, by the time I arrived at the base of Upper Doyles River Falls the rain had stopped and all I had to deal with was the water drops from the trees.

The good news is that the rain definitely helped out the waterflow!  Upper Doyles River Falls turned out to be a real nice waterfall!
Upper Doyles River Falls

Me at Upper Doyles River Falls

A short distance later the trail passes by the top of Lower Doyles River Falls.  I looked around for a safe way to scramble down to the base but didn't find one.  I am glad I didn't make effort because the trail actually switchbacks down a short distance later and takes you right to the base of Lower Doyles River Fals without any effort at all!

Lower Doyes River Falls
Me at Lower Doyles River Falls

The trail continues on and eventually leaves the Doyles River to head upstream along Jones Run.

As I was hiking along Jones Run I spotted movement in the creek and quickly realized it was a black bear.  This is the first time ever in the wild that I spotted a bear at close distance before it spotted me.  I slowly backtracked a short ways to a spot where I had a clearer view.

It was still overcast and rather dark in this section of the forest, so I had to remove the polarizing filter, crank up the ISO, and adjust the aperture to get a fast enough shutter speed.  Just as I had my shot lined up, the bear looked up and directly at me.  It froze just long enough for me to get one single shot off before it darted away into the forest on the opposite side of the creek.  Fortunately that one shot turned out to be the best shot I have ever gotten of a bear in the wild!

Black Bear

Seeing a bear in its natural habitat at close range really does get heart racing!

I continued upstream paying close attention to my surroundings when soon after the bear sighting I arrived at the base of Jones Run Falls.  Kevin Adam's gives this one a higher rating than both the Falls on Doyles River, but I wasn't overly impressed.  However, it was nice enough to stop and take a few quick shots.

Jones Run Falls

The hike out was a pretty good climb with about 1,500 feet of elevation change.  I took a quick stop to try and photograph some Deer in the forest, but didn't really get much in the way of Deer photos.


I ended up seeing about (40) Deer, One Bear, and Zero other humans on this hike!  Between the earlier rain, 100% humidity, and fairly steep climb I was soaking wet by the time I made it to the Jones Run Trailhead to meet Amy.  She handed me a pile of fresh clothes and made me change before allowing me back into the truck!
Good thing my truck is there!

We continued our drive along the Skyline Drive stopping at a few more overlooks.

Amy at one of the Skyline Drive Overlooks

View from the Skyline Drive

Eventually we made it to the end of Shenandoah National Park where the Skyline Drive officially turns into Mile Marker Zero of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waynesboro, VA.

It was too early in the day to check into our Bed and Breakfast, so we continued a few miles along the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Humpback Rocks Visitors center at around Mile Marker #5.  Here we decided to check out the short Mountain Farm Trail which takes you through a 120 year old Mountain Farm.

Old Farm House
Chicken on the Farm

Many aspects of this farm reminded Amy of how her Grandparents and Great Grandparents used to live.

After a nice visit to the farm we made our way back to Waynesboro, VA to check into the Belle Hearth Bed and Breakfast.

The Belle Hearth Bed and Breakfast

Waynesboro is a nice little town.  Our Bed and Breakfast was just a few blocks from Downtown Main Street so we decided to walk to dinner.  We had a great meal at the Green Leaf Grill which turned out to be our favorite restaurant stop of our trip.

There is a good bit of "Old Money" in Waynesboro and that became even more obvious to us as we passed by a unique car dealership which specializes in exotic and classic German Automobiles.  Even though we have no intentions of dropping a hundred grand on a Porsche, it didn't stop us from walking through the museum-like showroom!
The Porsche's are nice, but I am partial to the old Bug!

 I didn't know Porsche made Tractors

Amy by a Classic Porsche

The complete set of photos from Day 6 is posted here:

1 comment:

HemlockMan said...

That is one KICKASS photo of the bear!!! What a great shot!