Day 1058 – My First Night in the Shenandoah Back Country

Alright, so I left you with me trying to fall asleep in my tent. First, I want to explain our campsite. Here’s a picture of our setup…

To the left of the tent was a small stream and to the right and behind was a larger stream (that you follow for most of the hike…with LOTS of waterfalls). So we were essentially on an island! It was really neat…at first….but let me just tell you, water makes sounds like other things. There were several times we both thought we heard people….and unless they were at the third campsite and got up before we did….there was no one anywhere near us. Every crackle of the water sounded like a bear to me.

Here’s the view facing out from our tent.

So! Here I am in the tent, with a pounding headache and being a little scared because of the bear and just all around since it was my first time camping out in the wilderness. We were in our tent trying to sleep for 11 hours….and I know I got some sleep, but no idea how much. I tossed and turned SO much. The most comfortable side was my left side….but my headache was centered behind my left eye….so when I’d lay on that side, it would feel worse. The sleeping bags are nice and warm….but tighter at the bottom and just really hard to get a good comfortable position. It’s really just because we’re not used to sleeping in them. There was one point when I FINALLY got in a good position, fell asleep and even started to dream. What did I dream about right away? Oh you know, the shadow of a bear walking past the tent. So of course, I wake up and see no shadow and am mad because I woke up. I was “proud” of sleeping Jen’s brain though, because the bear shadow was an accurate size. 🙂

I think I figured I got about 6-7 hours of sleep between the tossing and turning…because I didn’t exactly feel tired when we got up.

We cleaned up our site and started hiking out.

We took a very slow pace, but it was nice…because we really got to drink in the beauty around us. And because my poor legs and feet were SO tired and sore!

We found a really nice waterfall…almost swimming hole right next to the path.

We continued on and got to the last part of the trail. This lovely waterfall was a mile from the parking lot.

As we’re walking back, we hear what sounds like an animal rubbing it’s back on a tree. That periodic rustle of tree, you know? We both stopped at the same time (which is cool to me that both of our reflexes were in sync). My first thought was, oh come on! We’re almost back! Not another bear! So, we briefly discuss the plan (drop the packs, get back, etc). I stand in the same spot while Bret goes up to check it out….sneaking up…I watch with baited breathe. I had a thought, what if someone comes by, we motion that there’s a bear and all of us are on edge and then come to find out it’s nothing. Well…thankfully no one came by….but after a few minutes of Bret checking it out…he does the head smack and motions for me to come up. What was our “bear” this time? oh just one of those pipes under the path to let water pass….we were hearing the water splash occasionally on leaves. Ah well. At least we were observant and respecting the wild we were in.

It was so nice to get back to the car and then the visitor center to use the restroom. I tell ya, that’s the best after “popping a squat” as they say. 🙂

I had a great time, besides my headache. We learned a lot and I can’t wait to get back out there again. I still have a dream to hike the Appalachian Trail someday….but I realize it will take a while before I’m ready to do that. My first goal is to hike all 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks. That is an attainable goal. Hopefully this summer we can knock a few out!

Woo hoo! Now back to real life and work!

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One thought on “Day 1058 – My First Night in the Shenandoah Back Country

  1. Pingback: Day 1156 – One Year as a Full-Time Wedding Photographer Down, How Did It Go?? « 365daysofmarriage

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