Little Devils Stairs Lariat

spring has sprung....sorta
spring has sprung….sorta

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First real beautiful weekend of the year.  At home it was going to be in the low 70’s with no rain and a good breeze.  Nancy suggested I take a hike and I jumped at the chance to get outside for the first hike of the year.  I stopped by REI to pickup some new gear and got a book on hikes in the Shenandoah National Park.  A nice drive through the the Virginia countryside with the windows down and music blasting, I was in the park.

I got to the parking lot for Little Devils Stairs around 10am and it was cold on top of the mountain.  At home it was going to be in the 70’s on the mountain it was 50.  I started to think I should have brought a hat or a jacket.  For this hike I was going to hike down Little Devils Stairs and then come up the fire road.  Going downhill is always tough on my knees and wanted get that over first.

It doesn't look it but this is steep!
It doesn’t look it but this is steep!

It was a busy day on the trails as I kept passing a ton of people coming up the stairs as I was going down.  It was a challenge climbing down the trails as it was steep and narrow.  With the recent rain the stream was fast flowing and covered many of the rocks making it dangerous to hike.  At the top there where literally 100′ rock cliffs on each side.  It was crazy seeing these huge cliff faces.  At the bottom there was also a rock wall from an old farmstead long before the land became a park.

At the bottom I took the opportunity to eat my lunch and take a break.  While I had hiked at least four miles, the long hike up the fire road was still to come.  Not far up the fire road there is an old family cemetery.  Most of the tombstones where destroyed and worn.  Those that I could make out were mostly from the 1920’s, again, before the land was made into a park.

little_devils_stairs_april_2013-05The only thing that I didn’t take into account was how far along spring was in the park.  At home the tulips have bloomed and the trees have sprung their buds.  I was hoping for a similar scene but forgot the mount is much cooler than home and therefore a few weeks behind.  I will just have to come back later to see the forest in full spring bloom.

Four hours and 9 miles later I was back at my car.  I took the opportunity for a long break and more food before heading home.  The weather was still beautiful so it was windows down and the music up for the two hour drive home.

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