Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Shenandoahs and the Tuscarora Trail

If you've been very involved in the election--emotionally or through your efforts on any campaign--thank you for your civic participation! To help us all recover, and to return to more cheerful topics after Monday's bummer post (and thank you to all those of you who took the time to read it and take action), today's post is about the lovely weekend Florian and I spent in the Shenandoahs.

The Shenandoahs were the first place I explored when I moved to DC, when I took Tashi and Lamar there for a camping trip one summer weekend before I even met Florian. And there have been many trips since then, including the one where Fozzie learned to swim and one very early in my relationship with Florian where we went to see the autumn foliage and discovered this great natural spring where people were filling up big jugs with spring water. 

So the Shenandoahs have a very special place in my heart. 

This time, we took off late after Florian taught a class and got to our favorite road--state road 678 through the George Washington National Forest--and found a parking area to stay for the night in the hippie/soccer mom van. 

We woke up to a chilly, overcast morning and after rinsing our faces in the freezing North Fork of the Shenandoah River, took off on a little hike .

Fozzie felt the best way to cross the wobbly wooden bridge was to get it done as fast as possible, 

While Lamar and the humans had a more gradual approach. 

Across the bridge there was a historic log cabin restored by the Forest Service, which Fozzie loved. 

Then there was a nice flat trail along the river.

The day was gradually warming up, but still not what you would call toasty. 

I always wonder about dogs who can't resist going in the water, even when it's frigid. 

Do they experience the cold differently than we do?

When the sun came out, it was  gratifying for those of us who do experience the cold keenly. 

And you could imagine, looking over the bridge into the deep water, what a great place its going to be to swim in the summer. 

As is usually the case on our trips, I would have been happy to stay in this area and explore the many trails but Florian wanted to go farther afield and see what else we could find. 

For which I think Fozzie was grateful, as he loves to be in the car. He has several preferred ways to ride, which include smashing against the inside of the back of the van whenever we pass another car, mailbox, lamp post, or person;

and on my lap, either with his head propped on his front paws, which rest on the front dashboard, 


or with his head and the entire front half of his body leaning out the window, ears flapping in the wind.

It definitely gets pretty heavy to have him there, but most of the time I enjoy it. 

We saw some very cool sights on our meandering drive toward Backbone Mountain, the highest point in Maryland. At 3,360 feet it is not that exciting to a native of Switzerland and a former resident of Oregon and New Mexico, but we still thought it would be cool.


We got lost on our way there though, and decided to head back towards home before it got too dark. 

On our way back we came upon the Tuscarora Trail, which I realized, the last time we went there, was the place Florian and I came on one of our first outings together when we'd only been together a couple of months.

It was really cold then too, and as I remember it Florian had just bought a new tent and in typical Florian fashion he wanted to set up his new toy and check it out.

So we set up the tent, sat in it for five minutes and ate beer cheese from Trader Joes, then packed up the tent and hiked out. 

This time, we spent a bit more time as there was still some sun at the top of the trail and some gorgeous views over the mountains. 

I don't sleep much when we camp in the van, and it's not always comfortable to be exposed to the elements and living in cramped quarters with two big mutts, but we always come home feeling refreshed and reinvigorated. 

How do YOU regenerate in times of political stress?


  1. Love all the pictures. The old buildings are a particular favorite. I find them so interesting...thinking about what they must once have been. The picture of Fozzie with the wind-blown ears is adorable. I'm glad the election is over, mainly because no more political ads. That is relaxing in itself.

  2. What an excellent trip! During the political turmoil, I turn off the tv!

  3. I love your trip, although I'm not ready for snow just yet! Not until after Thanksgiving, please. lol I love it when we're able to get out and hike, and I'm hoping the long weekend will give us the chance to do that. I usually find that curling up with a good book and a dog or two cuddled up to me helps me to forget about the rest of the world. And I am SO glad the elections are over!

  4. Walking always works for me, it is a great way to shake off the dregs of the day. Love the photos, what a beautiful area to hike in.

  5. That was a lovely walk. I'm not sure how dogs are able to enjoy frigid water but it's a great question! Georgia doesn't though. She totally avoids it in the lead up to winter and would probably die if her toes got wet in winter. Beer cheese? I had to read that twice! Sounds very exotic.

    It's funny how every American blogger I follow is so over the elections. I kind of miss the buzz myself but of course, I only saw it on telly which I could turn off anytime I wanted to ;) X

  6. It looks freezing but well worth the hike
    Benny & Lily

  7. Maryland has some beautiful sights! I love the old buildings:) I just spent a week in Frederick with my parents, the fall leaves were awesome!

    And I definitely think some dogs are immune to cold. My parents dog will do anything to stay outside in a blizzard or jump in a frozen lake:/

  8. Thanks for sharing your beautiful (if cold) hike pics with us and the telling about it. We feel like we were there with you. Loved it. Thanks for stopping to visit. We really like having visitors!

  9. I love that you let him ride in your lap. How much does he weigh? That has to get heavy!

  10. What a beautiful hike

    Stop on by for a visit

  11. Oh, my, thanks for sharing. I have got to get out and do some exploring!


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