Although I have hiked a couple of times this year (mostly along the C&O Canal), I sometimes don’t feel like I have “kicked off” the hiking season until I have gone to the mountains.
Today, the kick-off was commenced.
The location was Hogback Mountain in Shenandoah National Park. This is a 4.9-mile trail that goes to the highest point in the northern district of the park. April and May are my favorite time to go hiking as the forest canopy hasn’t yet closed and you can see birds more clearly. Sure enough, I saw many birds, and heard even more (though I was unable to identify them by their calls only). Eastern towhees and ovenbirds are the two most abundant on this particular day, I also saw a scarlet tanager, but it was too far to be captured with good quality with my camera.
The view from Hogback Mountain was expansive, although this being a somewhat hazy day, not particularly magnificent (the following picture was actually not taken at the peak, but near it):
Now, a 5-mile hike isn’t quite enough to satiate my appetite. So I took another one, the 3.2-mile Snead Farm Trail. This is a pretty easy trail, starting from the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center and reaching the farm in less than a mile. The farm has long been abandoned, but the barn is still standing, as is a root cellar tucked behind it, reminders of the bygone era.