There was no way that I could hike last Sunday; I could barely walk from the sofa to the bathroom. This week I have been feeling progressively less crappy and so I thought we might try a short hike. Our wanderings take us all over the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia, up to a couple hours away from home. Rarely do we hike here at home but because I have been ill for the last two weeks, I wanted a short hike a short distance from home which is how we came to pick Eagle Rock right here in Frederick County.
|The Trail Head on VA55/US48|
The misty rain down in the valley turned to superfine snow up at the trailhead, where the Tuscarora Trail crosses highway 55 on the VA-WV border. Being up in this part of the county where the ridgeline of Great North Mountain forms the border between the two states, it is easy to see why we have so many snow days in the county, even when roads down in Winchester are easily passable. Living near town, we tend to forget how rugged the far western part of our own county is.
|Paddy Mountain Left, Little Sluice Right|
*Yep, if you're doing the math, this is week 12 of the year, and we've only got in 8 hikes so far because of illness and weather. Going to be tough to get 52 in, but we're still after it.
|Mountain Laurel in the Snow|
|Fresh Snow on a Log|
|Turkey Tracks in the Snow|
|Short Mountain Left, Paddy Mountain Right|
|Stacked Stone Wall in the Woods|
|Some Drifts Were Deep|
|Great Eastern Trail, Who Knew?|
|Climbing to Eagle Rock|
|Rock Formation at Eagle Rock|
|Cement Bench at Overlook: "Capon Springs & Farms"|
|Turkey Vulture Over Frederick County|
|Peak after Peak in the Great North Mountain Complex|
|Eagle Pose on Eagle Rock|
|Panorama at Eagle Rock|
Up at the east-facing Eagle Rock, we were fortunate that the wind was coming out of the west and so we were able to brush the snow off the bench and sit with our backs to the wind and enjoy our lunch. After a bunch of pictures and lunch, we headed back towards the car retracing our route. I found a second wind and a new gear on the way back and that trip was much faster: an hour and thirty-five minutes back to the car versus two hours and twenty minutes out.
Back at the car, we pulled onto 55 from the shoulder where we parked and rapidly accelerated down the mountain in the direction of Winchester. I have often felt a bit carsick when coming off the trail, but nothing like this. To be experiencing the world at 2.5mph for hours and then to suddenly rocket to 60mph in seconds can be very disorienting. After a couple minutes of discomfort, the feeling went away.
In the spirit of staying local, for our post-hike beer, we decided to drop in to Winchester Brew Works, a nanobrewery in town that has been open about 10 months. Now that Ann is coming around to drinking real beer, we can expand our brewing horizons. She enjoyed the dry stout and I enjoyed the Cascade Falls IPA. The beers are all well made and this is certainly a welcome addition to Winchester.
|Cascade Falls IPA|