Monday, September 17, 2012

Day 7 - Shenandoah National Park Vacation

Shenandoah National Park Vacation
Day 7
Blue Ridge Sunrise and
Saint Marys Falls
George Washington National Forest, VA
and some Nelson County, VA Breweries!
Friday, September 7th, 2012

Amy and I enjoy the unique aspects of staying a Bed and Breakfasts when we travel.  The Belle Hearth Bed and Breakfast was OK but definite not one of our favorites.  Our room was nice, but we didn't have control of the thermostat and the room was quite warmer than we prefer.  Also, they were not very accommodating as to when we like to eat!  Breakfast was at 9:00am - take it or leave it.

I generally don't like to wait that late to get my day started, so I didn't.  I got up early, left Amy in Bed and hit the road to catch a sunrise along the Blue Ridge Parkway!  It was not the greatest sunrise I have ever experienced, but definitely worth getting up early for!

Just before Sunrise

Sunrise along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Sunrise along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Sunrise along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Sunrise along the Blue Ridge Parkway

After sunrise I returned back to the Belle Hearth Bed and Breakfast to meet back up with Amy and enjoy a nice breakfast.  After breakfast, we hit the Blue Ridge Parkway heading south.  Our first stop was White Rock Falls at around mile marker #20.  Amy decided to sit this one out.

Kevin Adam's guidebook lists the hike at 0.6 miles, but based on how long it took me (about a half hour), I think it is a little over a mile to get to White Rock Falls.  This was a neat little spot, but the waterfall was less than impressive.  Maybe with a good bit more waterflow it would be worthwhile, but today I was not impressed with this one.
White Rock Falls

After a few quick less than spectacular photos, I returned back to Amy and we continued on.  My next plan was Saint Mary's Falls which definitely sounded like an Amy approved hike!

The Saint Mary's trail is about 2.2 miles long with only a few hundred feet of elevation gain.  However, like most wilderness areas the trails are not blazed.  Also, the trail experienced significant erosion and destruction from the Hurricanes 10 years ago and has not been repaired.

As a result there are many sections where it is questionable which way you should be going.  However, if you just head upstream it really isn't that difficult.  We did end up crossing back and forth across the river more than the three times that Kevin Adam's guidebook says.

Amy crossing the Saint Marys River

If I remember correctly, we had to cross back and forth a total of 5 times each way.  Fortunately with the low waterflow, the river crossings were not very difficult.  Another good thing is that Saint Mary's Falls is still very nice even with low flow.

Saint Marys Falls

I actually think this turned out to be the most photogenic of all the waterfalls I saw during our entire trip!

Saint Marys Falls

Jack and Amy at Saint Marys Falls

It also helped that despite the earlier sun, some nice cloud cover rolled in just as we arrived at the falls making photo conditions just about perfect!

Saint Marys Falls

I took us about an hour and a half to hike to the falls, with much of that time spent trying to figure out when and where to cross the creek!  Since we would hike back the same way we came, there was not that uncertainty and we were able to make the return hike in about an hour.

I really enjoyed the hike and Saint Mary's Falls!

Jack and Amy at Saint Marys Falls

Originally I had also planned on checking out Crabtree Falls, VA but there really wasn't enough time.  Especially since I was eager and more than ready for what we had planned next!

Highway 151 in Nelson County, VA is a hot spot for Wineries and Micro Breweries!  There are (7) wineries and (3) Breweries located along this 25 mile section of road that runs through rural western Virginia.  With my designated driver at my side, I wanted to check out the (3) Breweries.

This was a very enjoyable ending to our vacation and a fun way to do dinner.  Each of the Breweries also has a restaurant.  In additional to sampling some of the beers at each location, we had appetizers at the first two restaurants and our main meal at the third.  The Wild Wolf Brewery was my favorite of the three!

The complete set of photos from Day 7 of our Vacation is posted here:


1 comment:

HemlockMan said...

Wow! Saint Mary's Falls is nice! I need to see that one!

And beer!