We all had a really nice night of sleep. It was dark and cool and rained lightly for some time. I got up first and tried to go back to sleep but had to use the bathroom too bad to hold it. Heath got up shortly later and once we were good and awake we started quietly packing up camp.
Pumpkin heard us and started watching us from her window. We got our tent pretty much down before she woke up Peanut.
The kids played in the tent and Heath and I got most of our stuff packed up. We got caught up on dishes and got breakfast cooking before getting the kids out and moving them to a picnic table and giving them big cups of oatmeal and orange slices.
While they were eating I took down their tent and packed up their bedding. Then I joined them for breakfast and coffee. We were still not sure how the staff would like us sleeping under the shelter but we had removed all the evidence and were in the clear. Once breakfast was all ate and the dishes were cleaned and packed in the van we drove up to the office and pool. We had dressed in our swimsuits so headed straight to the pool and hopped in. It was before 10am and not that hot out but the water felt great.
We swam a bunch and it felt so good and cleansing.
A guy came and cleaned the pool while we were there and said he was running the place and said he got my message and it was great that we were smart enough to use the shelter. He had been out fishing on a river and had also got caught in the storm and knew how rough it was. We were really impressed whit the Ed Allen Campgrounds. After Heath’s Marine Corps discount it cost as much as the National Park but it had a pool, big wooded spots, an indoor arcade/game room and nice showers. They also had a fun playground and of course the sheltered performance area that saved us from the storm. We had only seen one review on google when finding the place it was bad but we will have to add a positive one to it as well.
We swam until we had our fill and were starting to get hungry for lunch. Then we all took good showers with soap and stuff and put on clean clothes. Then we hopped back in the van and headed West for the first time. We had a 2+ hour drive to eat lunch and nap on our drive to Shenandoah National Park.
It was pretty obvious we were there right away when we entered the park on Skyline drive. Skyline drive is a nice but curvy road that winds itself over 70 miles up and around some appalation mountains.
This park was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 30s when the government seized a bunch of land and booted off over 500 families living in the mountains. For the most part it is one long road that we took from the southernmost point heading north. There was 70 something overlooks and hundreds of miles of hiking trails. I had 2 hikes already picked out and we chose a few overlooks at random.
We had not realized how long it would take to get through the park at first and we stopped at just about every overlook and took a picture.
When we got to Blackrock summit we were ready for our first hike.
It was an easy 1 mile round trip hike, uphill the whole way there and downhill the way back.
The Blackrock Summit was appropriately named at the midpoint of the hike we came to a clearing in the forest and found a huge pile of giant black rocks.
We also got a great view of the other mountains.
We hiked around the rocks and then back to the car. At this point we realized how little of our day was left so we really rushed and did not stop at many of the overlook points. We did stop at the visitor centers and watched a video for Peanut’s badge and looked at some displays. Then we drove on to the Dark Hallows Waterfall.
This was a 1.5 mile out and back trail that went all downhill to some waterfalls. We rushed down quick, played in the falls a bit and took some pictures then tried to rush back up.
It was a tough climb and we had to stop and catch our breath once.
We also came across a deer about 20 feet from the trail.
Once at the car we rushed north and stopped at one way-point store area to see if we wanted to boost our dinner with any food from it. Nothing looked much better than what we had so we hurried on to our campsite. There was no one working at the front office so we signed up that we were checking in and headed to our site I had reserved online weeks ago. It was a pretty good spot that backed up to the woods and only had one neighbor anywhere close to us.
Heath rushed to set up a tent for the kids and I got busy making a dinner.
This was our most complex camp meal so far. It involved 2 pans one had a can of pork and beans, a can of kidney beans and a bunch of cut up summer sausage in it. The other pan had a chicken rice mix and a can of beans in it. I have 2 different stoves but only used one and alternated the pans on it until both were cooked and ready to eat.
Peanut set the table and Heath finished up setting up a clothesline and hanging a bunch of our stuff.
Then we sat down to eat and it was on. We each grabbed a container and a utensil and started shoveling.
This was voted our best meal yet and I thought it was the most food but when the pans started to run low we got out mini bagels and scooped the remnants out with them.
There was not much to clean up as we ate everything.
After dinner we set up our tent and worked on Peanut’s badge and we started a fire with some wood Peanut had collected in hopes it would ward off the bugs.
Then we put Pumpkin to bed and she yelled at the rest of us. I took dishes to the sink by the bathroom and rinsed them out and a mama deer and her foul moved into the campsite next to us.
I got back and watched them play a bit as they slowly worked their way out of our view. We hid behind the van from Pumpkin for a while then it got dark and Peanut joined her in the kids tent and Heath and headed to our tent to read and update my blog. The kids had a tickle fight/giggle fest until we were about ready to scream at them. Then eventually we all got to sleep.