Saturday, June 21, 2014

Shenandoah National Park Awesomeness

Summer is in full swing!

Last weekend, my husband and I kicked it off with a weekend trip to Shenandoah National Park. With July right around the corner, we're realizing that our days are numbered till he TDYs to Arizona. He leaves at the very beginning of August, literally the first weekend.... This is our first summer together since we've been married -- and we plan to make the most of it -- although we're pretty broke.

The move and wedding put a strain on our financials and we want to spend some more time saving up before we do something big. So, we've pieced together a series of micro vacations (aka day or weekend trips) around the greater Virginia area.

The first of the handful of planned explorations at Shenandoah National Park was a hit! -- We had an AMAZING time! Honestly, I didn't really know what to expect. I quickly put together the trip because I realized how crunched for time we were and I knew my husband really wanted to conquer Old Rag Mountain based on a conversation he had with a co-worker. After researching Old Rag Mountain, I discovered that there were lots of other great opportunities to explore the park area! Literally, as soon as we entered the park, a black bear was crossing the heard me right...a BLACK BEAR! Of course, I was driving, so I didn't get as good of a look at it because it all happened so quick and I was just concerned for not harming the bear. Also, because how unprepared we were with entering the park, my husband did NOT have a camera ready. I was pretty disappointed because that was the first and only bear we saw all weekend. We did, however, see lots of other adorable and interesting wildlife!

We drove-up on Saturday and spent the day leisurely hiking around the park. I was completely and utterly impressed with the surroundings of Shenandoah. The park is extremely beautiful and I didn't want to leave. I wholeheartedly recommend a trip to the park. Even if you aren't the outdoorsy type, there is something to be seen here. We stayed at Skyland Resort, which had such a charming rustic feel to it -- and was completely modernized. You could also camp in the park, so it really has everybody covered.

Then, on Sunday, my husband and I hiked to the top of Old Rag Mountain. It. Was. So. Intense. For real, I can't believe we made it. We weren't really as prepared as others because we didn't bring enough water. Also, I didn't realize how much UP we would be hiking or rock scrambling. We were very lucky to run into a generous couple that gave us their extra water. Seriously, if it weren't for them, we wouldn't have made it the full circuit. So, a special thank you goes out to the awesome couple! We wouldn't have been able to do it without you!

My husband and I got a complete hike high when we finished the nearly 9 mile circuit height (were at 3 miles of it climbed 220 stories up!) that we were already planning our next visit. It was such a huge accomplishment we did as a couple and we were so unbelievably proud of ourselves. Woohoo!

Then, the next day happened....when we were unable to move our bodies because we were so sore. My arms were throbbing because of the upper body rock climbing we did. Needless to say, we're fully recovered now and ready for our next adventure!

A little tidbit - Active Duty military families get to go inside every single National Park for FREE! All you need to do is tell the gate person and they will give you an annual pass...not kidding...check it out!

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  1. I've never been to Shenandoah, surprisingly. And I love the free park pass. It was great in the Outer Banks.

  2. Wow this place looks amazing!


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