Shenandoah WooFWeekend 7.21.2012

CrewOnTrail300This Trip is what I like to call a WooFWeekend!! The trip was specifically planned for the dogs to Hike, Bike, Swim, & Play all Day!! I need The WooFDriver Pit Crew to maximize the experience and be able to do more with The WooFPAK. The Pit Crew this trip included: Jim, Chris, Mike, Jon, and Lenny. We left on Friday early evening in a misting rain. There was rain forecasted on and off for the entire weekend but with cool summer temperatures. This was good to help keep the dogs cool and would probably keep the traffic down on the trails we wanted to hike and bike.

Obviously we would need a couple of vehicles to get us including the dogs to our destination (The Cabin at The Shenandoah). We therefore drove The Jumbo Jet Dog Truck and the Dog Bus as well as Chris drove his vehicle because he has tools and other mechanical necessities.. In addition we towed my Can-Am Motorcycle for some additional human FUN!!  Jim and Chris actually headed out earlier than the rest of us in the mid afternoon time. My crew traveling with me stopped for a late dinner at at Ledo Pizza on the outskirts of our destination Front Royal. We made our arrival to The Cabin at around 10:30 PM. We got the dogs set up and put to bed and unwound to prepare for the real adventure to start in the AM!!

After our morning preparation we were headed out to Skyline Drive to hike “The Dark Hollows Trail”. We choose this because it had a 41 foot Waterfall!! How cool this would be for The WooFPAK and Crew. It was a foggy misting rainy day, but we knew this was part of the plan. We headed out I drove my Can-Am Motorcycle carefully as the crew with The WooFPAK of course followed behind in The Dog Bus and Jumbo Jet Dog Truck. When we entered Skyline Drive the Park Ranger informed us that dogs were allowed on most trails inside the Shenandoah Park and Forest but not the “Dark Hollows Trail” we had planned!! What a bummer but not to let it get us down, The Park ranger suggested”The Lewis Falls” Trail which has even a bigger Waterfall 81 feet high, and yes the dogs are welcome on this trail!!

So we headed out to “Lewis Falls” which was going to be about a 45 mile journey on Skyline Drive. Very cool except the visibility was bad because of the rain and cooler temperatures. I guess that’s why they call some of this region The Smoky Mountains appropriately!! The speed limit on Skyline drive where we were at was 35 MPH most of the way. This is nice because you can enjoy the views which are spectacular along this incredible mountainside ride!! Obviously with the poor weather conditions some of the real beauty was hidden but I felt like I was flying through the clouds surrounded by Lush Green Countryside and Forest. Truly an incredible experience!! Again finding the Good in almost all situations is what I strive to do.  As we neared our destination at the trail head I looked down and realized i was getting low on fuel!! The beauty of Skyline Drive is that there is no stores or houses along the roadway so I was somewhat concerned where was I going to refuel?? Well we checked the map and found there is a Gas station at a close by rest area. We proceeded there to find it packed and full of cars and visitors!! There was The Blackberry Festival taking place?? Well good for us because they had Food!! We were able to grab some home cooked hamburgers and chicken sandwiches. Now we were all “Fueled Up” and ready to hit the trail!! We were very close now to the trail head and made it there within minutes. Now let the games begin!!

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I decided since we had a large crew to let each dog travel with one person individually. This would make it more interesting and fun for all and actually this trail was narrow so this would prove to be a better configuration as well for trail manageability. I provided the crew with a waist harness and spring type tow line to properly hike with the dogs for all dog and human comfort as well as keeping our hands available for picture taking and filming of this incredible experience. Obviously we also needed to bring water since we were unfamiliar where we would be able to water the dogs inside the trail.

Well were trail borne probably around 3:30. it was spectacular as we started off. Yes overcast and foggy but the rain mist had let up. Lush Green Ferns lined the woods with all kinds of interesting foliage. The trail started off fairly gentle but about a mile into it it got very challenging!! The terrain became extremely rocky as it flowed downhill. There were some huge boulders along the way that we could step up on for a cool view and good Kodak moment!! It was still limited visibility but I actually think that added to the adventure as it created a mysterious smoky type view. The WooFPAK were loving life!! They were so enjoying the adventure from unpolluted and undisturbed nature smells and sights!! We did run into some others who ventured out on this soggy day as well. In fact one couple stopped to talk and admire the dogs. The woman was using a hiking stick and seemed a little unsteady on her feet. As she was walking away a rock she put her hiking stick on gave way and started to fall. Lenny was there with Zarro, and he was able to “catch her”!! WOW!! I think he may truly have saver her Life!! Where she was heading for her fall was down a very steep hillside. She was stuck on top of Lenny, but Jim and the woman’s husband pulled her off. Everybody was OK!! Go Lenny!!

As we continued on to The “Lewis Waterfall” we were mesmerized by the incredible sights and sounds that were all around us. We saw a Bright Red Salamander, lots of Deer that were actually very curious and friendly to us, as well very interesting and work of art spider webs glistening in the light!! We crossed a bed of wet rocks that was actually a stream bed I believe feeding the waterfall. As we approached the waterfall the trail (if it was possible) got even more challenging!! There was a very worn and bent rail to kind of protect people from falling in but I think it made it possibly more difficult to navigate!! We finally arrived at the waterfall but unfortunately, you may have already guessed this it was too foggy to get the full view. It still was incredible to be there and get the glimpse we were able to take in. Until recently. i was unaware that there where Waterfalls this spectacular so relatively close to home.

Well now we where off to finish the trail. this was a looping trail so we didn’t have to travel back on  the difficult terrain. We were hoping, and were correct, the upper part terrain of this trail was not as rocky but, it was uphill!! The dogs were earning their keep now!! They were pulling those of us fortunate enough to have them harnessed to. As we hiked back the sun peeked out of the sky and provided another view of Natures Wonderland that was just Awesome!! We got to a cliff that we were just in awe with!! We finished this journey about 3 hours + and 5 miles later!! What an experience!! A true highlight of my life!! I think The whole WooFDriver Pit Crew really enjoyed and savored this incredible time. Of course the dogs were in their element so you  know that they were on cloud nine also.

We loaded up and headed out back to the Cabin.

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