I seem to be having this odd luck with Shenandoah National Park. The sun doesn’t want to appear when I head there.
This particular episode wasn’t *quote* as bad as the previous visit, but it was still pretty cloudy and damp.
Robertson Mountain is a 3200 ft peak that is adjacent to the famous Old Rag in Shenandoah National Park. Since Old Rag doesn’t allow dogs (grumble) I hiked Robertson instead, since it’s the next best thing.
Starting out from the Berry Hollow parking, I followed the Berry Hollow Fire Trail up to where the community of Old Rag used to be. You can tell that this is a heavily traveled area, because there are actual information kiosks, which is something you rarely see off of Skyline Drive.
Going straight, Berry Hollow turns into Weakley Hollow, which goes to the other parking area for Old Rag. It was another very broad and park-like trail, and I saw some pretty wildflowers including some columbine. Eventually, the Robertson Mountain trail heads off to the left.
This is one of the steeper sections of trail I’ve been on. It goes 1700ft in about a mile and a half, and it is pretty darn steep. It reminded me a lot of Maryland heights, although much narrower, but also with some switchbacks. As I ascended, it seemed that I went further into the clouds, and visibility was pretty poor, so I had no vistas to speak of. I did see a lot of Mountain Laurels still in bloom, and I saw a pretty spiderweb covered in dew, and these were worthwhile sights. The mist was ethereal and gave a sense of unreality to the hike.
Because of this mist, it was hard to really know if there’s any vista at the top of Roberston Mountain itself. I knew I was there because my GPS said so, but all I could see were trees and mist. I ate a snack and headed back down.
This time, it was kinda worrisome at first because there were no blazes to be seen on the trail, but I consulted my paper map and I saw no other way to get back down the mountain but the way I’d come up, and the GPS route I was using kept helpfully beeping, so it must have been correct. I was pretty happy to end up properly on Old Rag Fire road, though.
Old Rag fire road is very wide and broad (obviously, as fire roads should be) and it was a pretty easy hike back to the intersection. I did see one of the many box turtles I’ve encountered in my travels, and this one was nice enough to hold still for me to get an excellent picture.
After the hike, I noticed the parking area for White Oak. I’ll have to make another visit out this direction soon. Journey’s end was another stop at Carousel Frozen Treats in Warrenton, for some excellent peanut butter and hot fudge flavored ice cream.
And of course, as I was driving home, the clouds disappeared and the sun came out.
|2013-06-22 Robertson Mountain|