Friday, September 6, 2013
South River Falls: An Easy SNP Day Hike
Seems like I haven’t been up in the Shenandoah National Park much this year, so on Sunday I decided to take Tessie and head up for a little hike. I hoped it would turn out better than the last one – we got rained on, and she had the most pitiful look ever in the car after. We took a little drive to Elkton and took the short drive north to the South River Falls trailhead.
Heatwole describes this hike as 2.6 miles roundtrip, total climb of 850 feet, and about 2:15 in duration – that’s all pretty accurate in my book. The hike qualifies as a moderately easy one by his rating, and by mine, because I like to see 5.0 miles and 500 feet before I consider a hike moderate.
Along with not getting to the park as much this year, my exercise has tapered off too. Where I used to walk Tessie a mile a day and then added 1.5 miles of walking back and forth to the subway, I’m down to the dog walk and maybe ½ mile of walking back and forth to a shopping center for lunch. With the entire climb facing us on the return trip to the car, both the dog and I suffered on the second half of this one.
We took in some nice forest views on the way down, and I made a video of Tessie as she experienced crossing a stream that was hidden away under some rocks. I’ll upload that at another time. The outward leg of the hike ended at the little overlook with a view of the falls.
While Tessie and I took a break there, I was remembering that Chris and I did an extended version of this hike a few times when we were preparing for the Half Dome hike in 2005. That route goes all the way to the base of the falls, and Heatwole has it as 4.7 miles with a climb of about 1,315 feet – so it still wouldn’t qualify as moderate by the standards I use today, but it was an effective early hike for us as we undertook the preparations for Half Dome.
I think the dog had a good time, despite our struggles on the return, and the time outside certainly inspired me to want to get back to the park more often this year. I even bought a new annual pass, good until next September!