So there we were, in the Shenandoah National Park prepared to camp. Though, all campgrounds within 50 miles in the park were full. There was one problem and many solutions. We could attempt to find a private campground (RV Park anyone?). We could cook our dinner at a day-use picnic ground and then go to a local hotel. We could camp anywhere along the famous Appalachian Train which we were not far from. All solutions viable. We chose none of these options. We chose to take the road less travelled; literally.
There were a few key conversations that led us into the night and to where we ultimately would end up...
Me: Where along the the Appalachian Trail would you suggest to camp?
Park Ranger: There are many venomous snakes in this area. I wouldn't suggest you to camp along the trail here.
Tyler: Any open spots?
Jellystone Park Attendant: No.
And finally the clinchers. The deal sealers.
At a nearby ice cream shack, along the side of the road, not far from Skyline Drive, this plays out:
Me: There are no campsites open, any suggestions on where we could go?
Teenage Ice cream Scooper Girl (in southern teenager voice): "Yeah, like go to the top of that mountain, when you get to the top there's a dirt road, turn left and that's where we go"
Me: (turning now to an older gentleman for verification and further details): Sir, do you have any ideas of where to go?
Old Man: (a long pause, Chase thought he was mute at this point) Top of that mountain (pointing) turn left on the dirt road and pitch yer tent.
These people were clearly locals. They should know. So to the top of that mountain we drove, onto the dirt road. Chase & Tyler found a great little campsite tucked off the side of the road.
Here is what ensued:
Me & Jenn roughing it hardcore style
Breaking down the tent, Chase & me
Me by the roaring fire (I may look bored, that's because I was camping and everyone knows camping is boring).
The drive from DC to the Shenandoah park is a little slice of Americana. Shout out to Chase for driving all the way from NYC, that is a whole hunk.
NOT PICTURED: There was a moment driving along Skyline Dive... a thick mist had fallen at dusk & out of the mist of one of the cliffs flew a black crow. The crow flew slowly and deliberately and then perched atop a rock overlooking the valley. It was bewitching.