Good golly, Miss Dolly (sods that is)

Dolly Sods July 11-12 Rorhbaugh Trail, blackbird knob trail, Raven ridge trail, bear rocks trail, upper red creek trail and off the beaten path by way of bushwhack trail.

This is my favorite place to explore, without exception. You can’t describe dolly sod’s magic with words. You have to experience it first hand in order to be cast under her spell. Mother Nature almost seems like she’s showing off. The sky seems so close, like you could reach up and touch the clouds

Red Creek is aptly named

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It’s also the perfect place to take a nap.

More of Mother Nature’s bounty

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The weather can change in an instant at the sods.

After opting for the road less travled, the road completely disappeared.  We had to bushwhack our way back – and found evidence that we weren’t the only ones to ever do so.

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(Mushroom) recap: summer so far

Since we’ve had some really amazing adventures already this summer (a couple of days in dolly sods will do that for you) here’s a quick highlight reel to review

7/19 White Oak Canyon hike, Shenandoah National Park This is the natural water slides hike. It’s great going down, not quite as great coming back up.

This was our farewell to Tammy hike as she abandoned us for the beach for the rest of the summer. It’s ok though, she’ll be back and in her own words, she’s now a converted mountain mama more than a beach babe. That’s saying a lot coming from the always tan, even in the depths of winter, former beach babe.

Anyway it had been raining a lot so we opted for a waterfall hike. I’m a summit girl myself but every once in awhile I like a good waterfall hike. We decided to hike from skyline drive down into the canyon rather than hike up from the white oak canyon parking lot near berry hollow. We started out with clear blue skies and lots of sunshine. By now, we should all know that’s an omen of bad things to come. When will we learn?!?! We started out on the trail and shortly came upon the first of many, many mushrooms.

And even more mushrooms


We rested up at the first falls and then continued down into the canyon towards the natural water slides.

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This is the top of the first slide

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You can imagine our shock when as we entered the water we heard a booming clap of thunder echoing through the canyon. The sun was out but the thunder wasn’t messing around. Having been caught in my fair share of summer storms in Shenandoah, I knew what was about to happen. The next three miles, straight uphill the entire time, seemed as though we were hiking into multiple fire hoses aimed straight at us. By the time we reached the car we were beyond soaking. It was at this point as we sat dripping in my now sopping wet car that we decided upon a new tradition. In order to capture the true juxtaposition that Mother Nature can provide in a matter of a few hours: the before & after pics. From now on we’ll start and end each hike with photo documentation.

Here’s a pic of the storm we hiked out of from above the canyon. At this point it had already been storming for well over an hour.

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I loved being caught in the rain, to me it was the highlight of the hike. I yelled to Beth at one point (it was raining so hard I had to yell to be heard) “this rain is crazy!” To which she yelled back, “crazy awesome!” Tammy was too far ahead of us trying not to get struck by lightning or a falling tree to enjoy it the way we did 😉 I think the highlight of the day for Tammy and Beth however was coming across a memory from their childhoods (I’m a little too young to be excited enough to pose with the General Lee)