Years of playing hockey have given me great balance: I just don't fall down willy nilly. The best I can figure—although Ann was very close to me, she was out of line of sight so we'll never know for certain—my left hiking pole got trapped in a crevice and as I stepped forward, the wrist strap anchored me to the pole and pulled me backwards off balance. When I stepped back to regain my balance, my left ankle most likely slipped between two rocks and there was no where to go but backwards on my ass. Massanutten Trail 1, Ed 0.
|Massanutten Trail Just East of Camp Roosevelt|
We planned all week to hike to Kennedy Peak in the George Washington National Forest in a big loop via the Stephens Trail to the Massanutten Trail and back to the car. Kennedy Peak sits atop the eastern arm of the Massanuttens and with its 360-degree view looks east over the Page Valley and Luray to the Blue Ridge beyond as well as west over Fort Valley to the western arm of the Massanuttens.
Places to get down into Fort Valley are limited, hence George Washington's plan to make his last stand there in the Revolutionary War should things have gone south against him. We skirted the western side of the mountains coming south from Winchester on I-81 and crossed at Edinburg Gap (route 675), dropped down into the narrow valley, and then started to climb the eastern mountain range by Camp Roosevelt, the first Civilian Conservation Corps camp in the country during the Depression. Just up the hill from Camp Roosevelt, the yellow-blazed Stephens Trail and the orange-blazed Massanutten Trail converge at route 675 on the Page County and Shenandoah County border. I saw the orange dotted-I blazes along the road before I saw the actual sign for the Massanutten Trail.
Finding the parking lot and trailhead could have been tricky except that I really studied the aerial view on Google Maps and got my landmarks down. The parking lot is at 10.0 miles on the left on route 675 after leaving route 11, up a short driveway beyond a gate and not visible from the road. As soon as you pass Camp Roosevelt, you will see a little pull-out loop on the right. Continuing uphill beyond this loop, you will cross the Page-Shenandoah border and maybe 50 yards further, the driveway to the trailhead goes off to the left. I believe I saw a sign reading "Horse Parking" on 675 at this point. Anyway, there's not much to indicate to hikers that this is the place.
|GWNF: Land of the 'i' Blazes|
|Fall Truly is Here|
|Rose Hips Everywhere|
|False Solomon's Seal Berries|
|A Bracket Fungus (Turkey Tail, I Think)|
|Brilliant Orange Jack O'Lantern Mushrooms|
|Pixie Cup Lichens|
|Yellow Green Lichen|
|Asters with Rain Drops|
|Goldenrod with Bumblebee|
|Rocky Path to Kennedy Peak|
|Clouds Over Page Valley|
|Glorious Sky at Kennedy Peak|
|S. Fork Shenandoah River|
|Page Valley from Kennedy Peak|
|Scores of Broad-winged Hawks on Migration|
|TVs Playing at Kennedy Peak|
|Page Valley from Edith Gap|
|Notice the 'S' Curve in Right Pole|