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Broad Hollow – Shenandoah National Park

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Hike Summary

Weather is starting to become a factor in hiking again. There’s this window of gloriousness from about mid March to about mid June where the weather is pretty predictable and nice; cool and pleasant, not very rainy.

Then Summer rolls in and things start to get interesting. It could be ninety degrees with 90% humidity, or it could be raining buckets.

This hike was a little bit of the latter. The weather reports said there was a pretty low chance of rain. The weather reports were wrong: the chance of rain was pretty much 100%.

It started out pleasantly enough, although overcast. This is one of those hikes where the trailhead is off in the back of what I often unkindly refer to as “Deliverance Country.” This is a really unfair label for me to make, because I doubt that the people who live in these backwoods hollows are inbred or cannibalistic, but unfortunately pop culture references do die hard.

Once I found the trailhead (and tentatively parked my car in what I thought was an OK parking space,) I set out. That’s when the drizzle started. I passed by some extremely friendly cows and on up into Broad Hollow trail.

It really was a pretty depressing day to go out for a hike. There wasn’t all that much to see, what with visibility pretty low from the clouds. It pretty much constantly rained the entire way. I stopped by a damp log to eat some lunch, when I spied something colorful alongside the trail.

A Lady Slipper orchid. It was beautiful, with its pink shoe shape and low growing foliage. At first I only saw one, but as I hiked along, there were clumps and clumps of them alongside the trail. I’d lucked out, and this was definitely worth the wetness. There was also plenty of Mountain Laurel in bloom, and with the way the clouds were skimming along the trail, it made things look very ethereal.

Eventually though, I kinda just wanted to get back to my car. The latter half of the hike was mostly downhill, and the views were pleasant along the trail, but it was really hard to actually see much. I did enjoy the hike, but I’ll have to do it again on a day when the sun is out.

On the way back from the hike, I decided to stop at Carousel Frozen Treats in Warrenton. There, I was able to enjoy one of the largest ice cream cones I’ve had in a long time, and examine my leather-stained hand. This had kinda freaked me out when I was on my hike: my hand had suddenly turned orange! I quickly realized it was from the water in the leather, but it was still a slightly comical panic for me.

2013-06-06 Broad Hollow
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