HIKING UPPER WHITE OAK CANYON TRAIL Shenandoah National Park Luray, Virginia

Hiking Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miler

Date: September 14, 2021

Shenandoah National Park is 105 miles long with winding Skyline Drive snaking through the Blue Ridge Mountains the entire way.  We camped at a KOA Campground (our camping neighbors were Larry the Cable Guy and Susan Dey) in Luray, 9 miles west of the Thornton Gap Park entrance station.  The national park has 95 hiking trails, dozens of overlooks, 100 species of trees and harbors 50 varieties of mammals and 200 kinds of birds. We concentrated our hiking between mile 31 and mile 52. Located at mile marker 42.6, this moderate rated trail was one tough challenge for me. The 5.8-mile trail was tree covered, flat and smooth at first then became rockier as we descended the canyon. The trail passed Timberlost Trail, unique rock formations and eventually a small rushing stream meandered to the left of us down the canyon. I came upon a small fawn eating five feet off the trail and sighted dozens of large millipedes (Photo #3 & #4). A bridge crossed the stream and .1 mile later we climbed a rocky ledge that offered an excellent view of the cascading upper falls (Photo#6) which was 86 feet high. A fall from our rocky perch would have resulted in a 60+ feet plunge. After resting and enjoying the beautiful view we began out 2.9 mile ascent with an elevation gain of 1,040 feet. In the canyon the temperature was 82 degrees (and 71 degrees back at the summit) so although it was a shady trail, the heat and humidity wore me coming back up.  The overall hike took 3 hours and 15 minutes.

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