Trekking the foggy mountain

March 29, 2009

Foggy days are always interesting in the mountains and Saturday was no exception. On our approach to Shenandoah National Park, an overcast sky gave no indication of the pure blanket of fog that was thick within the boundaries.

It had been a while since I had been in the park and we decided to head into the South District. Visibility was less than 20 feet for all but five minutes. However, temperatures were comfortably cool and the rain mostly held off.

Close to the Dundo picnic area is Brown Gap, a small parking area leading to a few paths and a fire road. (Fact of the day: Brown’s Gap Turnpike, now part of the fire road, was a route used by Stonewall Jackson and his men during the Civil War.)

I’ve found a nice short circuit hike with the following route: Take the fire road until a trail leads uphill on your right. At the top of the hill is a four-way intersection. Take a right and you’ll eventually run into a T with the Appalachian Trail. Take a right and you’ll head back to the parking lot you started from. Depending on your pace it could take an hour or two to complete.

In the past I’ve seen bears and even a Pileated Woodpecker along the route, so I wanted to check it out in the fog.


Fog provides a unique scene for photography, but also requires that the subject be very close. Unfortunately, nothing was found besides deer, a few squirrels and birds darting away from our path.

It was still a pleasant trip and I’m hoping to get back there soon. Bears should be out and about by this time.

In other news, I’ve heard from a reliable source that common loons were sighted Saturday in Lake Shenandoah in Rockingham County. I just might have to check that out today.

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