This picture was taken in the St. Mary's wilderness area in George Washington National Forest. This snaking river valley offers an excellent four mile hike with little elevation gain, and showcases some of the most pristine wilderness in Western Virginia. http://ow.ly/1qkb30gY2K4
Blue Ridge Palette
I grew up on the border between Ohio and Pennsylvania, where the Allegheny Mountains give way to the Appalachian Plateau before fading into the great plains. As such, I knew that there were distinct sub-ranges to the overall Appalachian Mountain Chain, but my experiences were limited to the ridge-and-valley Alleghenies and the folded Poconos. My mom's childhood stories, and John Denver's songs of the Blue Ridge and Cumberland Mountains may well have been about the Rockies for as different as their descriptions were from the mountains and plateau of my childhood. It wasn't until the fall of 1996, when I moved to the Virginia Piedmont that I first saw the Blue Ridge Mountains - and discovered the source of their name. Humidity and haze plagues the central Atlantic states, and peaks in the central Appalachians, where the geography causes a constant summer maelstrom of mountaintops spurring sporadic downpours of rain, only to have the latent heat of the bedrock immediately flash the water back into clouds rising out of the mountains. The clouds move on to repeat the cycle all over again. In fact, the Great Smoky Mountains region of the Blue Ridge derives its name from this very phenomenon! The subtle beauty of the Blue Ridge can best be appreciated on the worst of days. When there is no weather system moving through, and a stagnant high pressure zone prevents clouds from forming, the humidity spikes and causes a haze to fall across the landscape. This haze filters out the bottom half of the light spectrum, leaving only blues and violets capable of penetrating the oppressive humidity. Thus, on the heaviest and muggiest of days, the Blue Ridge truly shows her colors. It's taken me nearly a quarter of a century to fully embrace it, but now I'm proud to call this landscape home.
Day 0: spent most of the day riding down to Front Royal, #virginia , parked the bike, then caught a ride from wonderful #trailangel named Sharon to the southern point of #skylinedrive in #shenandoah . Now the hard part: #hiking 112 miles back to the bike in 5 days. 🏃🏻♂️🎒