Ramble On

Monday, December 12, 2011

Return to Massanutten's Kennedy Peak

A couple of weeks back, when Chris came out for a hike, we intended to get out for one of the “75 at 75” hikes. Both of us ended up having some work chores to take care of first thing in the morning, via email, and that put us behind schedule enough that we ditched the plan for a hike in Shenandoah National Park. As a Plan B, we went to Kennedy Peak on the Massanutten Ridge in the George Washington National Forest.

See, during this time of year, Shenandoah National Park closes the entries on Skyline Drive at 5pm, reopening them at 8am, to prevent poaching during deer hunting season. If you expect that you need more than 9 hours for transit to your trailhead and to complete your hike, you run the risk of being locked in the Park. Although there are procedures for letting you out after hours, NPS cannot guarantee how promptly someone will arrive to open the gates for you.

After Chris and I took care of the emails and on-line business matters, we made our stop to check on the pigs, which I posted on last week. Then it was off to GWNF and the Edith Gap trailhead. We arrived at just about noon for the hike.

I used both the Casio Pathfinder and the “Map my Hike” app on my iPhone on this one. I calculated approximately 698 feet of elevation gain over the 5.4 mile course, which took us about three and a half hours. As with most of the GWNF hikes, the route was well marked, actually following the orange-blazed Massanutten loop for most of the distance before merging with the Stephens Trail to the summit of Kennedy Peak.

Back in January, I hiked the Stephens Trail with the AOA guys. I was stunned at the views from the old observation tower at the summit. I’ve posted three photos here of the views, looking in easterly directions to Page Valley: first to the north, in the direction of Rileyville and Bentonville; then due east across the north stretches of Luray to the Blue Ridge and Thornton Gap; and then to the south, towards Stanley and Big Meadows, where Hawksbill Cabin lies along this line.

I have a video to share, a narrated panorama that I took while on the observation tower, and I will post that tomorrow as I conclude the review of this hike.

No comments: