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Shenandoah National Park, VA

May 13 - May 21, 2017 -- $1250 ★★★


Just an hour west of Washington, DC, lies a beautiful, long, and narrow ridge of Appalachian mountains known as Shenandoah National Park, one of the most accessible and easily reached National Parks in the USA. We will hike over 60 miles on the 2190 mile long Appalachian National Scenic Trail which spans the entire length of the park.


Our trek parallels the famed Skyline Drive, traversing miles of fine hardwood canopy, all on a ridge high above the surrounding valleys. You'll almost certainly see deer and we usually see black bear as well.


Unlike most Fatpacking trips where we exclusively sleep in tents, on this trip we will spend 1 nights in a cabin, 1 night in the backcountry dispersed tenting, and many nights in campsites that have huts/shelters -- 3-sided open faced structures that sleep up to 12. There are tent sites at every shelter which we encourage you to use, however if the weather is inclement or you just don't feel like setting up a tent, you may opt for staying in the shelter if space is available. Shelter space is unreserved and is on a first come first served basis.


Our journey will begin at Rockfish Gap at the South end of Shenandoah NP and go through the South half of the park. The first day will involve a somewhat steep climb to ascend the ridge that joins the Appalachain Trail. From there, we'll hike Northbound every day for a week, staying in or near AT shelters (lean-tos) with various thru-hikers in our quest to become "Hiker Trash".


Here is a trail map for the week (this map's route is a little different route than our trip will be).


If you have heard about the Appalachian Trail or were inspired by A Walk in the Woods and want to experience the AT and the AT thru-hiking culture for yourself, this is the trip for you



Weather

Weather is always an important concern when hiking. Expect daytime hiking temperatures in the 60s & 70s and nighttime temperatures in the 40s & 50s. However, be prepared for the possibility of day temperatures in the 80s and night temperatures in the 30s. It's thunderstorm season so expect rain, T-storms or both. Here is the historical May weather. We experienced brief snow on both the 2008 and 2009 trips and hail on the 2011 trip. The 2014 trip experienced consecutive 95 degree days so be prepared for a wide variety of conditions.



Trip Leaders

Dan Shafto
2nd Guide TBD


Cost

$1250 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a room with another participant during the 2 hotel nights. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Dulles, personal equipment and any restaurant meals eaten off the trail (although breakfasts are included).


Covered expenses include 2 hotel nights, 1 cabin night, 7 days of trail meals, ground transportation, National Park permits, insurance, and 2 awesome guides.



Difficulty


The trails through Shenandoah National Park are well groomed with good footing and moderate elevation gain and loss (although it may not seem like that while hiking). Difficulties arise because there are several days of 10+ mile hikes planned. While this may not seem like much while sitting at your computer or even after say, 7 miles of hiking, cumulative fatigue sets in and every subsequent mile becomes more challenging. The upside is that in May, there will be as much as 15 hours of daylight, which gives plenty of time to complete our daily mileage.



Notes


There was as wildfire in Shenandaoh in 2016 along some of our route. Expect better-than-usual views as well as interesting pioneer plant species along the route.


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Important Note
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Itinerary


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Drive or fly into Dulles Airport (IAD). The best time to arrive is between around Noon-3PM. However, if you can save a substantial amount on your flight by arriving at say, 11AM or 5PM, then do so.


Take the free airport shuttle to Hyatt Place Herndon Dulles Airport East, 13711 Sayward Blvd, Herndon, VA, 20171, 571-643-0905. Call hotel's number for shuttle pickup.


Equipment shakedown


Trail mix distribution


"Before" measurements taken


Go to EMS Dulles, Dulles 28 Center [Wegman's], 22000 Dulles Retail Plaza, Dulles, VA, 703.421.4330 or REI Fairfax, # 11950 Grand Commons Ave, Fairfax, VA 22030, (571) 522-6568 for last minute or forgotten equipment


Go out for dinner (Dinner not included in trip cost)



Sunday, May 14, 2017

Second set of "before" measurements taken


All the items that you won't bring on the trail will be set aside and put in storage.


All the items that you will want for the halfway re-stocking point will be set aside and transported to Skyland Lodge.


Breakfast at hotel (included)


Shuttle to Rockfish Trailhead off of I-64


Begin Hiking, elevation 1900'.


Hike 7.0 uphill miles on the Appalachian Trail to Calf Mt. Hut trail junction


Hike 0.3 miles to Calf Mt. Shelter


Camp at Calf Mt. Shelter, elevation 2700'


Miles today: 7.3. Total miles: 7.3


Possible bailout: Skyline Dr.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Hike 0.3 miles back to the Appalachian Trail.


Hike 9.0 miles to Riprap Trail intersection


Dispersed Camping at Calvary Rock, elevation 2800'.


Miles today: 9.3. Total miles: 16.6


Possible bailout: Skyline Dr.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Hike 9.3 miles to Blue Blaze Trail turnoff for Doyle's River Cabin


Hike 0.2 miles to Doyle's River Cabin


Stay in Doyle's River Cabin, elevation 3200'.


Miles today: 9.5. Total miles: 26.1


Possible bailout: Skyline Dr.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Hike 0.2 miles back to the AT


Hike 7.6 miles to Pinefield Hut.


Camp at Pinefield Hut, elevation 2500'


Miles today: 7.8. Total miles: 33.9


Possible bailout: Skyline Dr.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Hike 8.4 miles to Hightop Hut


Camp at Hightop Hut, elevation 3200'


Miles today: 8.4. Total miles: 42.3


Possible bailout: Skyline Dr.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Hike 12.6 miles to Bearfence Hut


Stay at Bearfence Hut, elevation 3250'.


Miles today: 12.6. Total miles: 54.9


Possible bailout: Skyline Dr.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Hike 1.5 miles to Bearfence Rock Scramble


Drop packs and rock scramble for 0.3 miles


Hike 0.2 miles back to the backpacks on the AT


Hike 7.5 miles to Big Meadows


End of hiking

Miles today: 9.5. Total miles: 64.4


Possible bailout: Skyline Dr.

Shuttle back to Hyatt Place Herndon Dulles Airport East, 13711 Sayward Blvd, Herndon, VA, 20171, 571-643-0905.


Your stuff will be transported here shortly after you arrive


After measurements taken


Dinner and awards ceremony (Dinner not included in trip cost)


This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Free Hotel Breakfast


Take Free Airport Shuttle


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