Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Our hike to Mary’s Rock, Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park has so many gorgeous trails and backcountry in which to hike, but if you’re only planning on getting your feet wet and just doing one, then this is the one to do.

My advice to you is to pick a clear day and go early in the morning for the hike to Mary’s Rock, which is located at milepost 31.6 off the Skyline Drive. The views you’ll be afforded at the top are simply incredible, making it a nice reward for all your hard work.

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This trail takes you 1,120 feet up but after you reach a certain point, it’s level hiking until you get across the top to the viewpoint. The photo above was taken at the start of the trail.

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Every now and then in this park, you’ll come across the remnants of an old homestead and the trail at Mary’s Rock has one such offering. The photo on the left is going up and the photo on the right is of the same chimney coming down.

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This shot was taken while walking along the top of the ridge. That’s Mary’s Rock up ahead. According to one version of park lore, years ago a woman named Mary Thornton once made this hike alone to the rocky summit. When she returned, she carried a bear cub under each arm. I don’t know how true this account is, but it makes a good story nonetheless.

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We’re almost there. The view is just around this ledge.

 

 

 

 

 

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It was a clear day and a perfect one for this hike. The photo below shows my husband and George a the very top rock. I’m not insane, so I stayed put, on the rocks below.

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Can you see George’s tongue hanging out? I actually think he was a tad bit wary of that high spot. He wanted to come down with me.

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The view shows the Thornton Gap entrance station below where Route 211 crosses over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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This is a beautiful hike to take. Yes, it’s difficult in the beginning, but it’s just one of those things that is so worth it. And if I can do it, believe me, you can too.

It’s raining here in Maryland as I write this. It’s a good, steady soaking rain and is typical for April. The grass gets greener every day and it’s good to be alive.

Thanks again, everyone, for stopping by and sharing my hike. Have a great day, all.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

35 comments:

Kath said...

Thanks for visiting our blog today. Your photos are fantastic and George, well, he's just a handsome guy isn't he?
I look forward to reading more here.

The Blue Ridge Gal said...

Isn't this just an awesome world we live in? My knees hurt just reading about your hike, but oh that view! Soooo worth it.

Di
The Blue Ridge Gal

Leif: A Voyage said...

Mary's Rock.

Were there blackbirds, or hawks, riding the thermals below you?

Did your husband find the geographical marker at the very very top of the highest rock, back a ways?

Was there no wind on the rock face, stilled by the stone so that you felt if you held your breath you could hear someone speak in the valley below?

Thank you for that vicarious little trip to a wonderful place.

Welcome home.

Maria said...

OMG, that was incredible, thank you for taking us on your walk.
what a view, breathtaking

Country Girl said...

Leif, I've never seen the marker but I know you've been there several times before! No, no wind to speak of but I couldn't hear anyone talking down below.
Yes, Erin! I was in your beautiful state over the weekend.
My knees only hurt a little bit, Di. Lucky me because I had the hot tub to soak in after the hiking.
Thanks, Kath and welcome!
Maria, you would love it there.

Ellen said...

Oh, wow. What beautiful scenery. So glad the weather cooperated for your trip.

Doreen said...

That is so beautiful. As my travelling days are over, it is so nice that I can travel through your pictures and your narration. I would love to stand up there and take in that view but I did see it through you eyes. Thank you for sharing your trip with me.

Hilary said...

What a perfectly gorgeous location. Those photos are wonderful and the scenes just breathtaking.

Pony Girl said...

Wow, what an amazing place. I've hike in the woods and seen old homesteads, so neat. I love the photo of the hubby and George standing on the edge looking at the view! But oh goodness, that would scare me a bit, hee! ;)

Char said...

such gorgeous scenery - a beautiful day together

Oliag said...

Gorgeous,gorgeous, gorgeous!... What an incredible view! Thanks for taking us on your hike!

sweetpea_path said...

What a special part of the world - thank you for sharing your travels...with George :>} (sorry, admit I'm quite partial to fur pals!) When I go hiking with my dawg I can't take her off leash since she chases EVERYTHING that runs from her. How 'bout George, can you hike with him sans leash?
Thanks again for sharing your vacation!

Sweetpea

Amy said...

breathtakingly beautiful and again you could be in norway taking those photos...George probably sleeps like a baby after hikes like those...have a continued great vacation...

Treasia said...

Absolutely beautiful view. It is gorgeous.

imom said...

Such a beautiful hike. Thanks so much for taking us along with you. The view at the top is breathtaking for sure!

Pam said...

Makes me glad I'm headed to Virginia this weekend with my daughter to visit college. I miss the mountains all the time.

Mental P Mama said...

Now I will be humming John Denver all day....Just beautiful.

Mary said...

Wow, just gorgeous! I would love to see all that!
xoxo,
Mary

The Good Life in Virginia said...

what an spectacular view and this is now on my list of to-dos.
beautiful!
and george went along too ^..^

Kathy's Klothesline said...

I am speechless. Like you I would not have ventured upon that rock, though. Thanks for the tour!

Kacey said...

What a gorgeous view! I love the fireplace ruins too. Very cool. Looks like a wonderful hike. Oh, and neat story about the rock too. Don't you love folklore like that?

Daryl said...

More of the husband's back, I love it .. and George is braver than me, I would have been with you but I wouldnt have looked down .. I am insanely afraid of heights ... I wouldnt ever go close to the floor to ceiling windows in our 22 fl conference room .. its one of the few things I like better about our new (1 yr old this month) suite on the 6th fl ..

Country Girl said...

Thanks, all! Makes it worth sharing with you to hear all your wonderful thoughts.
And sweetpea path, dogs must be on a leash at all times while in the park and are not permitted on several of the trails.

~ C.G.

Spruce Hill said...

Wow what a beautiful view! I am sure George had fun takeing such a long hike. I would not have gone out on the edge either. Too high for me!

Staci said...

I'm so afraid of high places that the pictures (they are lovely) made me a little "seasick". I think George has the right idea - back away from the edge!

Cindy said...

Amazing views. Looked like a great day for a hike.

IowaCowgirl said...

Thank you for the awesome photos!

Donalyn said...

It is so beautiful Kate. Larry I were talking Sunday, on our way back from our daughter's, that it is really nice to have them so much closer so we get to see them more, but that we also miss getting to travel to VA 3 or 4 times a year.

FireLight said...

It looks like y'all had a fabulous vacation! Hiking in such scenic outdoors...wow! I have been in the Blue Ridge area, but I never went on a hike. I did get to hang out around some horses last weekend. I even managed a decent photo or two.
Have a look when you get a chance!

I am so happy you decided on the trip!
Rain is GOOD!!!

Jeannelle said...

How wonderful to see these beautiful sights! Now I've been on two hikes today....yours in Virginia and Deserthen's in Nevada! All while relaxing in my armchair....quite a feat! Thank you!

olivia said...

Wow -- the view is stunning!!!

Laura ~Peach~ said...

beautiful.... my knees and hips and lungs ache for you!

Raph G. Neckmann said...

What a fantastic view! I really enjoyed looking at it from your photos - almost feel I've been there!

High Desert Diva said...

Gorgeous

Shenandoah bed and breakfast said...

Shenandoah National Park is also known for a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities, including skiing, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, caving, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and hunting.