Hello! I’m back, finally. David and I left our apartment on April 1st and we’re officially living on the road. It doesn’t exactly feel like it yet though. The day we left we stopped at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia for a night to relive memories and split up our drive. The next day we beelined for Virginia Beach (at a crazy fast speed consistently 7 under the speed limit) to visit with his aunt, uncle, and sister. We spent half a week there celebrating birthdays and passover, as well as relaxing, exercising, and reevaluating how we packed the car.
I promised myself I wouldn’t provide simple surface overviews of the trip on this blog, however, due to delays from charger malfunctions I’m going to combine and shorten reviews from the beginning of the trip just this once:
SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK
This was my second time to Shenandoah, David has a long history of going there with his family. Shenandoah is actually the most frequented park in the United States, mostly because it’s close to many major cities on the east coast (only 75 miles from DC). It also has everything – mountains, hiking, camping, the Appalachian Trail, Skyline Drive, waterfalls, and lots and lots of deer.
Before the park was established President Hoover established the “Summer White House” on the Rapidan River and the construction of Skyline Drive, a 105 mile scenic automobile route along the mountain ridges, began. When the park was established in 1935 over 400 families were relocated from the mountains. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) moved in and began building visitor facilities and other amendments.
We stayed the night in the park and ran in the mountains on the Appalachian Trail (AT) before leaving for Virginia Beach. I’ve never actually been to Shenandoah during high season before. We last went in October, when we were still thinking we would hike the AT this summer – it was really cold. It was warmer this time around, and instead of beautiful fall colors the trees were just barely beginning to bud. What we missed in foliage we got back in spectacular views from the trails.
DISMAL SWAMP CANAL TRAIL
I’ve never been a biker. I learned how to bike when I was little but basically had to learn again when I was in college. Embarrassing, but true. I just never had anywhere to bike growing up. I’m trying to get into it though, with the quality of my bike as my biggest barrier. Despite my insecurities about biking for exercise I let David’s Aunt Robin convince me into biking the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail. I’m so glad I did!
The three of us did the trail in it’s entirety (17ish miles). It’s actually a section of the old Virginia State Rt. 17 that they’ve converted into primarily a running and biking trail. It’s super flat, super pretty, and runs alongside an old canal. The trees kept us in the shade most of the time and we were able to zip through and back comfortably for over an hour. The experience made me want to get back on my bike more (that was the first time since last summer).