This is the first GRP trip since my move back to the Midwest.  My friend Kristin and I drove to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, and met my brother and sister-in-law there for 5 days of camping and hiking.  Shenandoah is known for the beautiful autumn colors, though we were a bit early to see them, it was still amazingly beautiful.

One of the days we visited Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.  The trip back in history was interesting and the grounds were beautiful.

Monticello
Thomas Jefferson’s home – Monticello

We fought the rain for the first couple of days at the park, but the skies started to clear a bit while we were at Monticello, and we had a great view of the valley,  It felt like you could see almost all the way to the ocean.

Monticello garden
View and garden – Monticello

Even though we had a lot of rain, we were able to get some hikes in, and then on the 3rd day we had a full day of sunshine.  The hard thing about the rain, it takes away from a full camping experience.

Mike and Kathy
Mike and Kathy on a hike to an overlook of the valley

No hanging around in the mornings, making coffee and breakfast, and no bon fires at night.  I think that is as much of what makes these trips so wonderful as the great scenery.

Kristin and I spent some time on the Appalachian trial.  We hiked a bit on the Pacific Crest Trail when we were in Northern Cascades National Park, now we just need to hike a bit on the Continental Divide Trail and we’ll have hit the Triple Crown!

App trail
Appalachian Trail

Part of the fun of this trip was the drive.  It was about 14 hours total, we stayed at my brother David’s house on the way down and back, to help break up the trip.

Also, we had a lot of Autumn colors on the trip down, more so than when we were in the Park, so it was a beautiful trip down.

PK and Kristin on App trail
Patty and Kristin hiking part of the Appalachian Trail

What I learned about the Park:

Hiking
Hiking in Shenandoah

Amazing early colonial American history surrounds this place.   Unlike the parks I have visited in the West, this park felt very familiar.  Hiking in this park felt very similar to hiking at Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin.

What I learned about myself:

It is the West that speaks to my soul.  This park was beautiful of course, but it didn’t touch my spirit in the same way parks out West do.  For my whole life I have been called to the West, I am grateful that I was able to spend so much time out there.

Some thoughts for you:

Get out there!!!

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