Sunday, April 28, 2013

Greenbrier State Park

This weekend I took the RV out for the 1st trip of the season! I'd un-winterized last weekend and all went well so we ready to rock and roll!
I decided to head up into Maryland and check out Greenbrier State Park that was right by the AT. There were some points of interest along the AT there and it would be a good camping spot for future AT hikes!
I left right after school on Friday and promptly hit traffic heading into Leesburg. Google maps told me it would take me an hour and a half to get to the park. I left school at 3:15 and at 5:00 I'd just arrived in Frederick, still had about 30 mins to go and traffic was at a standstill on I-70 West, which was where I needed to go.
I decided to stop for dinner in Frederick. While I was sitting in traffic I'd discovered that there was a Baja Fresh in Frederick so I attempted to locate it. The map showed it right by a mall and th mall had lots of little shopping centers and restaurants around it so it showed promise, but after driving around a few times and having to turn around and navigate I decided to give up and go to Panera, which was even better because they have free wifi!
After a nice dinner, checking Facebook, email, and texting I headed back into traffic. On the way out of the shopping center I saw the Baja Fresh. Boo. At least I know exactly where it is for next time. I-70 was a parking lot so I decided to go straight to route 40 which was going to be a direct shot into the park. That was not an original idea. The exit for 40 west was inching along. Once off the highway though traffic thinned out and soon I was out in the country!
It was only about 20 minutes to the park, even though it felt like it was in the middle of nowhere! I didn't have a reservation but I still managed to get a great site with electricity for the night! I'd wanted electricity because it was supposed to go down into the 30s and my "stay warm" plan was to nuke my bed buddy and put it in the sleeping bag with me!
I got all parked up and plugged in by 7 so I had a solid hour before dark to check out the park! The first thing I discovered about the park was that there was a cell tower right across the street and I had full signal! I love the wilderness but I also love technology! I walked down to the lake and then took a trail to walk around it and back to the campground loops and then I walked the 2 most populated campground loops. Even chatted briefly with a man who was camping with his 2 rambunctious puppies in a van almost like mine!
I'd read that you can see Greenbriar Lake from Annapolis Rocks, which is where I was going to hike to, so I figured that the rock formation at the top of the mountain was Annapolis Rocks! I'm pretty sure I was right!
My site! I was in Cedars 41 - it was close to level (if your RV is short enough) and secluded and easy to back into!
Saturday morning I was up and out early! They lock the gate into the park from 10 pm - 8 am and I'd planned to be out by a little after 8 and was mostly successful! (They have some superior security at this park, not only do they lock the gate at night but you have to have a key code to get into the camping area! I've never seen a campground that you had to have code to get past the gate!)
There's a large parking area where the AT crosses Route 40, but I figured it would fill up quickly and I was right! I got there a little before 9 and there were already a bunch of cars! When I got back from my hike there were cars parked everywhere! But at least I wasn't parked in!
There is a spur trail that takes you to the AT - as you can tell from the pavement, double yellow line & guardrail this is deep in the wilderness! LOL!
This is right where the AT crosses I-70. I thought I'd been here before, but I must have been someplace else. It was still exciting to cross over the interstate! I've crossed I-66 while hiking the AT but you go under it, and it's the parking area so it's not like its really the trail.

The bridge!
View from the bridge, with the cell phone tower by the campground!

Sign on the bridge letting motorists know they were driving under the AT

Soon the AT turns into the woods and climbs high above the highway and you don't even know its there!

As I was leaving the parking lot three guys were getting ready for a backpacking trip. They soon caught up with me and we climbed the hill together. We were hiking at about the same pace so we struck up a conversation. They were all in their 40s and they've been backpacking together for over 25 years! They used to climb, but they don't anymore. They were fun to talk with and I was kinda sad when we got to the trail to Annapolis Rocks and they kept going!

View of Greenbriar Lake from Annapolis Rocks

After checking out the view at Annapolis Rocks I continued on up the trail to Black Rock Cliffs. The trail was a ridge walk so it was basically flat.

View from Black Rocks Cliff

I continued on up the trail to the Pogo Campsite which was about 1/2 way between Route 40 and the next road crossing so it was a good stopping point for the day, it was also about 4 miles from the parking area making for an 8 mile hike.

On the way back to the car I stopped at the Pine Knob Shelter.

The spur trail to the shelter had a lot of flowers, oddly enough it was the only place on the whole hike with flowers!
After a brief stop at the shelter to read the log (which didn't take long as it had just been replaced 2 days ago!) and pack out some trash that had been left there, I headed to the parking area.
I took the scenic route to get to I70 so I could see if the nearby rest area was the spot that I thought I'd been too. This allowed me another view if Annapolis Rocks! The rest area was not where I thought I'd been so I continued on toward home.
I decided to take Route 340 to Harper's Ferry rather than Route 15 through Leesburg since I really didn't want to go home and I'd never been that way. It was a nice drive and next time I might just take that way rather than fight traffic around Leesburg!
Since I was taking the scenic route I went ahead and made it the uber scenic route and went through Front Royal. Since it was only a few miles up the hill from Route 55 I decided to go check on the trillium at the Wildlife Management Area. They aren't quite to peak yet but there are a ton of trillium!

Finally made my way to Wegmans and then home! Beatiful day for our 1st trip of the season!


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