celebrating a birthday at mary’s rock

Mike took the day off from work on my 64th birthday, and we ventured to the Shenandoah Mountains at the height of the fall’s colors.  Usually it’s too crowded to visit the Skyline Drive on weekends in autumn, so I was pleased he was able to get off work so we could hike up to Mary’s Rock.

We drove into Shenandoah National Park and headed for milepost 33.5 at the Meadow Spring parking area.  We found a brilliant red tree in the parking lot, then we crossed the road to pick up the trail. It was a relentless uphill climb until the Meadow Spring Trail intersected  with the Appalachian Trail. We veered right onto the Appalachian Trail and followed it to the next trailpost, where we turned left to see the views at Mary’s Rock. Once we reached the summit, we retraced our steps back to Meadow Spring.

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the brilliance of fall at Meadow Spring parking lot

I always love the moss, ferns, and fallen leaves on Virginia’s mountain trails.

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moss along the Meadow Spring Trail

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leaves on the Meadow Spring Trail

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Meadow Spring Trail

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more moss and leaves

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strange shaped log

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ferns on Meadow Spring Trail

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an array of leaves and ferns

Mary’s Rock is a 3,514-foot (1,071 m) tall mountain and is the eighth highest peak in Shenandoah National Park. The summit of the rock offers views of the northern section of Shenandoah National Park and Page Valley.

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view of the Valley from Mary’s Rock

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view from Mary’s Rock

After admiring the views from the summit, we got back on the Appalachian Trail and began our descent.

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descending the Appalachian Trail

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back in the parking lot with our brilliant tree

We drove north along Skyline drive, stopping at various overlooks along the way.

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overlook along the Skyline Drive

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overlook along the Skyline Drive

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overlook along the Skyline Drive

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overlook along the Skyline Drive

Leaving Shenandoah National Park, we drove to a lunch spot we’d never tried before, where we scarfed down some delicious chili dogs with cheese fries, promptly undoing any health benefits we’d achieved on the hike.

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Burgers “N” Things

Then we stopped at a farm market to pick up some apples, apple cider and honey.

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farm stand

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apples

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jars of Shawnee Apple Butter

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local honey

The next night, Mike arranged for our friends Michael and Karen to meet us at Nostos for a Greek dinner.  Karen gave me a beautiful Italian leather journal and an Italian pen.  We enjoyed wine and great camaraderie, as always, topping off yet another year in my meandering life. 🙂

*11,709 steps, or 4.96 miles*

*Hike Friday, October 25 / dinner Saturday, October 26, 2019*

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On Sundays, I post about hikes or walks that I have taken in my travels; I may also post on other unrelated subjects. I will use these posts to participate in Jo’s Monday Walks or any other challenges that catch my fancy.

This post is in response to Jo’s Monday Walk: Fuseta to Olháo.