|At the Stonyman summit. Luray is just behind Mary|
and me, and Lake Arrowhead is center right. The furthest
ridge is Great North Mountain, in WV.
It was a great day for a hike, with clear, bright skies and warm temperatures, so the time was right. But as the title of this post suggests, I had a couple of other ideas about the hike - for one thing, I wanted to try out my new Casio Pathfinder watch. The other motive will be the topic of my next post.
The Stonyman hike is short, only 1.5 miles, and the elevation change is about 330 feet. It qualifies as an easy one in my book - but it does end with one of the best views of Luray and the Page Valley that you will find in the Park. Stoneyman is the second highest peak in the Park, by the way, at 4,010 feet - and on a clear day like Saturday you can see all the way to West Virginia.
|The white blaze marks the route of the Appalachian Trail,|
while blue blazes mark other routes throughout SNP.
When I first found the trail, one of fondest discoveries was the twin blazes that mark the route: white for the Appalachian Trail, and blue for other hikes in the Park. There used to be a sign where the routes diverged, about halfway up; I think that it said that point was the highest spot on the AT within the Park boundaries. I need to go back and look through some past posts to remind myself, I know I have posted a photo of that old sign.
|View to the Southwest, across Skyland Resort.|
The peak in the upper left is where Massanutten Ski
Resort is, and you can just see the trails.
While we were at the summit I told Mary about the first time I took this hike, back in the days when I was checking off all the "Easy Day Hikes" routes (obligatory Amazon link below). I got the horse trail summit and sat down to enjoy the view when my cell phone rang. I spent 30 minutes on a work conference call up there that day, even though I was on vacation - you can bet I billed for that call!
The trail wasn't crowded, but we weren't the only ones who had the idea to go out on a hike. We enjoyed meeting a young family, a mother and daughter out on a walk, and then a couple from New Jersey (Red Bank - exit 109). But as I mentioned, there was one other purpose for getting out on this hike, and I will post about that next.
By the way, here's the link to the Best Easy Day Hikes book I mentioned above:
Best Easy Day Hikes Shenandoah National Park, 4th (Best Easy Day Hikes Series)
It's not my only guide to the park, but I do refer to it frequently.