Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

A Walk in the Rain

©Bert Gildart: In autumn rain seems to be a frequent condition in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, something that often discourages venturing out in this premier hiking park. But unless the conditions are extreme, with proper attire that need not be a concern, and the rewards can be incredible, particularly for the photographer. At least that was the conclusion Adam and Susan Maffei reached following an all-day long venture down Cedar Run and then back up White Oak Canyon.


Descending Cedar Run


The hike is not an easy one, something that Janie and I emphasize in our book, Hiking Shenandoah National Park. In the book we write that it is easy to slip particularly when descending Cedar Run, for rocks are numerous. But it is the rocks and falls that make the trip, so several days ago Adam and Sue and I took our time.


Meanwhile, Janie remained behind, working on revisions for our book — and nursing a tired knee. She regretted her forced inactivity as Cedar Run was one of the few places we saw a bear, something we noted in our book at the time.


CLICK TO SEE LARGER IMAGE. L to R: Crossing Cedar Run; pausing at one of the six White Oak Falls; Upper White Oak Falls; Pausing at one of lower White Oak Falls.

We saw a black bear cub scamper across the trail and into the woods…

As the three of us hiked, cloud cover increased, but it only added to the saturation of the foliage and eliminated the “hot spots” that can ruin images of streams and falls. Soon a slight drizzle began and as the water increased it began to form droplets on leaves increasing color saturation, which were now beginning assume a variety of colors. Typically, maples were turning orange or red while some of the various species of oaks were turning yellow.


Along the way rock formations closed in and I recalled that this was one of the few places in the park which had never experienced homesteading. Most other areas in the park were farmed but their homesteads were eliminated through the law of eminent domain when the government decided to create a park from the area. As you can imagine the take over was not without controversy, but excessive farming during hard times had created immense erosion downstream, so there were two sides to the story. Such was the nature of our discussion as we descended.


Ascending White Oak Canyon


Near the end of Cedar Run we wrote:

…the water courses down a steep descent and settles into a gorgeous pool at the base of Half Mile Cliffs. Take time out to soak your feet or dunk yourself. There are no rock faces to climb here, and a more idyllic setting is hard to imagine.

About four miles into the hike (3.6 to be exact) we left the Cedar Run portion of the hike and began ascending White Oak Canyon. The canyon contains six falls and because of the rain, all gurgled with water. We stopped often and Adam, who is a natural ham, readily cooperated with my suggestions and then added a few extra flourishes to my suggestions. Because the trail paralleled the falls the temptation to stop often was great, but by now rain had begun to fall steadily. Timing, however, was perfect as we had reached the sixth and last falls. Now the rain began to be persistent.

Retiring the camera for the rest of the day we concentrated on the two mile ascent that remained, concluding as we hiked that if you can time your hike with a light rain, this hike would almost remain one of our favorites.



*Bears Ready For Hibernation


Comments are closed.