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[at-l] Trip report

Friday: Up at 6:00, leisurely paper-read, load pack in car and drive
WEST, against rush-hour on I-66 (grinning like idiot at commuters) to
Front Royal. Off freeway to 4 lane to 2 lane to dirt to BUMPY dirt to
gravel Forest Service road. On with day pack to start 8 miles (round
trip) of road walking - but mostly blue-blazed dirt road Big Blue (or
Tuscarora) Trail. Beautiful blue skies, warm temperatures, Forsithia(sp)
in bloom, calves mooing, God in heaven and all right with the world, and
NO 'PUTERS anywhere... Ahhhh. South Fork Shenandoa mossy and tranquil
under Indian Bottom low water bridge. Tubing/Rafting outfitters all
closed. Strange to think this would have been the AT if things had
worked out differently...

Back to car, drive to where I had walked to, park. This time, on with
backpack, not daypack, and up 1000' Massanutten Mountain. BB Trail
follows General Daniel Morgan's military road built for G Washington for
a last ditch stand in Fort Valley if we had lost. Poor horses :( hauling
canon across that mountain. Poor section hiker:( hauling heavy
springtime backpack. Great winter views over Shenandoa River from Veasey
Gap at top. Down far side to PATC Little Crease Shelter - cool shelter
with front skylight, good spring, and front stone patio with stone
benches and built in fire ring/grill. Shelter keeper was there doing
maintenance and >>sawing wood for campfires<< (!).

Hiked up Mill creek to cut down mileage on the next section, and down
the creek to the shelter parking lot. 15 miles for the day. Register
showed shelter very under used by AT standards. Actually, why am I
telling you guys this? DON'T GO THERE - YOU WILL HATE THIS SHELTER :)

It got dark at 6:30, made dinner and a small fire. Dreamed into fire
until I got sleepy at 9:00ish. Cold at night.

Up at 5:30, breakfast, hurrying to beat the rain forecast. Off by 6:30,
back up Massanutten, down the other side, started to rain at 7:30, got
to the car at 7:39. Not bad timing. Home and back to the paper in plenty
of time for my daughter's ice skating.

Good trip.

- Gary from Fairfax.

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