Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Back at the Best Westrern in Luray, Va--who would have thought that I would be spending my 7th night in a little over six weeks here at the BW in beautiful Luray?

I had a great, and very challening day today....I'll have to post photos later as my camera is not cooperating tonight.

so I went back to the White Oak Canyon/Cedar Run + Hawksbill summit  circuit that was my first SNP solo circuit climb.  With the two recent major winter storms and with Skyland Drive closedI had to improvise.   So I ended up getting up at 3 am and driving straight down to the VA 600 White Oaks parking lot and doing this very, very rigorous 11 mile climb.

There of course was a bunch of snow to deal with.  Not so bad on the main climb up White Oak but when I crossed Skyland and went for the summit of Hawksbill it got pretty deep--especially on the western side of the ridge--drifts over a foot.  The descent back down Cedar Run was especially very tricky--lots of flowing water, and ice on rocks--which made an already very challenging descent extremely tough.

As an aside--this is probably the hardest (mile for mile) hike  tht I've done in SNP---it's just relentless.

One thing I didn't anticipate is the snowmelt's impact on the streams/rivers and especially the two required fjords of Cedar Run.  Back in November these where technically interesting but not that significant challenges.  Today, the same crossings were impossible--or at the very least, they required wading through 2-4 feet on ice cold water.  Since it was 25 degrees outside I decided against this course of action.  In each case I was able to move downstream a bit and then stash my treking poles and then shimmy on my tummy across some ice-encrusted fallen trees....pretty challenging and more so rewarding....I'll post picks when I get bsck to DE this weekend.

In the interim, please find the Garmin details of this climb today--pretty similar to November although I took an extra 10 minutes today--not bad given how challenging the ice and show were:

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