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Little Passage Creek – George Washington National Forest

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Hike Summary

It has been far too long since I was updating, and for that I apologize. I got caught up with preparing for and then failing to complete the One Day Hike, and then I had a visitor, and then I went on several hikes and just didn’t have the energy or organization to actually sit down and do actual descriptions.

I am back though, and there will probably be a flurry of updates over the next few days while I get my backlog of hikes up. I still took pictures and such, I just didn’t get any thoughts down on paper, so to speak.

This hike is a hike I’ve been trying to go on since the middle of March or so, but unfortunately, the Forestry Service Road that this trail starts on is locked until mid-April. I was finally able to get out on it, and it was pretty worthwhile.

The first section of the trail follows the forestry road past another locked gate, and goes along for a couple of miles. It wasn’t incredibly interesting, being mostly long and straightish, with an occasional intermittent stream to jump across. The day was kinda muggy and sorta rainy, something that I have a feeling I’m going to get used to as summer progresses.

The trail breaks off from the Forestry Road and heads around the west side of Strasburg Reservoir. It’s a pretty small little lake, only a few acres, but the rains have it nice and full, and there’s the sound of water going out the overspill, as well as lots of frogs and other nature sounds. There are a couple of excellent camping sides on both sides. It struck me as a great place to hike to and sit around the campfire, drinking beer and roasting marshmallows.

There were quite a few pretty wildflowers along the hike, and I got my first look at a newt, all fiery red, just hanging out in the middle of the trail. Of course when I started taking pictures of him he decided that it was time to move, so most of my pictures were blurry or obscured.

By this time, there was finally a break in the drizzle, and I made my way to the top of Meneka Peak, the highest point of the hike. There were nice views off to the East towards Buzzard Rock and other places. I made my way back down towards Signal Knob, the sorta halfway point of the hike. Along the way I came across a large cell tower and transmission facility. I’m told that a lot of people actually think this is the actual signal knob, but it’s only part of it. Signal Knob itself is off to the west.

As I looked around from the top of Signal Knob towards Strasburg to the west and Winchester to the north, I can definitely understand how this place was an important place to hold during the Civil War. It was taken and retaken by both sides several times, and used as a signaling location during the Shenandoah Valley campaigns.

The way back was mostly the Forestry Road, which runs all the way to the transmission facility, but I had a fun time as a thunderstorm decided to roll in at this point. Luckily I managed to get back to my car the moment the rain really started coming down in sheets. It was quite an exciting drive home.

2013-05-29 Little Passage Creek
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