Ramble On

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Best Easy Day Hikes Shenandoah - New Edition

When I posted about our little day hike to Bear Fence Mountain last weekend, among the things I noticed while writing was that the new edition of "Best Easy Day Hikes Shenandoah National Park" has been published.  This book, compiled and written by Bert and Jane Gildart, is the 4th edition, and was published earlier this year.  It updates the 3rd edition that was published in 2006; I have an Amazon link at the end of the post if you'd like to check it out.

When Mary and I bought Hawksbill Cabin in 2007, I figured that since Shenandoah National Park was so close - Hawksbill Mountain looms over the drive into our place, nearby Hawksbill Creek draws its source from a spring near Big Meadows, and we can see Tanners Ridge from our brick terrace - that I should make a point of getting to know the Park best I could.  I used the 3rd edition as a guide, setting a goal to complete all of the hikes in the book, an objective I fulfilled in 2010. 

On first review the major difference is the inclusion of 27 hikes in the 4th edition, as opposed to 26 in the 3rd.  Not only are there additional hikes, but some of the old ones have been deleted or replaced.  A district by district review shows that there are now 6 hikes in the North District, where there were five; there are 15 in the Central District, the same as before; and there are 6 in the South District, the same number as were in the 3rd edition.

The additional hike in the North District is Fort Windham Rocks, a 0.8 mile out-and-back with negligible elevation gain.  In the Central District, a second route to the peak at Mary's Rock has been added: "Mary's Rock  South," a 2.6 mile out-and-back that is shorter and has less elevation gain than the traditional "Mary's Rock North" route.  The entry for Betty's Rock and Crescent Rock has been deleted from the Central District list.  The South District list remains the same.

Generally, I'll be interested to get into the individual hike reviews in more detail to check out the updates.  Our Park is dynamic in that it used to be settled and covered by farms; while the establishment of the Park retains some controversy in the surrounding areas, the inevitable progress of nature's reclamation is one of the features of the experience, and that means that the trails are constantly changing.  Where there was a view in the past, there may be a new forest obscuring it now, for example...or some unusual flora or fauna may have re-established itself somewhere, causing the visitor to focus more on the micro-landscape as opposed to the wonderful views from Skyline Drive.

I have my favorites on this list, and at the same time, if the choice were mine, there are a few I would leave off.  But this guide has been very useful to me during my adventures in the Park, and generally I'm very happy to see that it has been updated.  Once I found out it had finally been published I couldn't wait to get a copy for myself.

Amazon link:

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