Posted by: Rachael | September 4, 2010

Will hike for beer

So about that hike I mentioned in my last post…while in Luray, we had the option to go underground and visit the Luray Caverns, or head towards the sky and take a mountainous hike in Shenandoah Valley National Park. Decisions decisions! Luckily, the owners of the cabins we stayed in left us a fabulous recommendations book filled with their favorite local attractions. When we saw the first page listed two must-do hikes in the park, we were sold! We packed our lunch and our packs and hit the road….with a few scenery stops along the way.

Since we were looking for a shorter, less challenging hike (that also had great views) we chose the Whiteoak Canyon Trail, a 4.6 mile hike  roundtrip hike to a waterfall! Since I’m a pretty avid runner, 4.6 miles sounded like nothing to me. I usually run at least that much everyday. Boy was I wrong. It’s not that the hike itself was crazy hard, but I’m the world’s number one klutz – power walking down a rocky trail with gnarly roots sticking up every which way is a recipe for disaster. Luckily, we all managed to make it to the waterfall without wiping out. Phew!

The upper falls was a beautiful place to stop and break for lunch! It was a bit hectic at the top given that it was such a beautiful weekend and all, but we managed to find a spot on the edge to enjoy the sammies Lauren made us that morning!

Mmmm…Flatout wraps with heirloom tomatoes, swiss cheese, honey roasted turkey and dijon mustard + an apple for dessert! It was the perfect combination of delicious and nutritious after the brisk first half (which I might add, was all downhill).

After lunch, we started back the way we came, knowing that the entire hike back would be uphill. Don’t you hate that? I’d much prefer to get the hard stuff over with first and relax on the way back…although I am less of a klutz on the uphill climbs! The one motivation we had for getting back to the visitor’s center was the rustic looking taproom chock-full of delcious draft beers just waiting for us to drink them. Our fearless leader Caroline took off and it was all we could do to follow her without collapsing from speedwalking exhaustion!

Ok, so it wasn’t actually that bad, but we definitely went back faster than we came – and I was huffing and puffing the whole time. I thought for sure I would be fine, especially considering I’ve been training for a half-marathon all summer, but Laur and I were definitely the cabooses of the hiking train! Needless to say, we ran for the taproom as soon as we made it back. Caroline told me that she learned on a recent brewery tour in England that a glass of beer rehydrates you better than a glass of water after exercise. I don’t know if I believe it, but I’ll definitely use it as an excuse to have a cold one! We also ran into this fun character back at the lodge…Smoky the Bear’s distant cousin!

Wooo…tired, sweaty faces!

This was definitely the perfect hike if you’re ever in the Shenandoah area and looking for something fun and a bit challenging that won’t eat up your entire day! I highly recommend it. Plus, the drive to and from the hike itself might have been the best part! I’ll leave you with a few shots of our mountain yoga session…

Now that’s what I call living on the edge! =)

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