With your help, Jason & Kelly will hike 100 miles in one weekend—and raise $5,000 for Shenandoah National Park!

Mt. Marshall Trail to Appalachain Trail to Bluff Trail, back to Mt. Marshall trail to Route 622
18.6 miles, 6-1/2 hours
Today’s weather was sunny, hot , & quite humid.  The shady trails were awesome!
We began today’s adventure with Jason picking me up in Arlington at 5.30; by 7 this morning we were on the trail.  The first couple of miles were a steady uphill climb – a little unexpected but doable for sure.  We shared the feeling that we would see a bear today.  A bittersweet experience – fear, anticipation, excitement, & nerves all in one.  After seeing a few deer on the drive to Washington, we were ready!

We trekked onward & upward, appreciating the well shaded trail &  the green environs.  We’ve set a pattern to keep a swift pace & hydrate as we go.  This morning’s snack break came about 8 miles in.  Jason made some awesome bars & I made some granola that was quite tasty as well.  I’m happy to share the recipe!  Already sent it to Jason.
Back on the trail & our next nature experience was a large low-flying bird that we’ve seen on past hikes & are guessing is a pheasant?  A ruffed grouse?  It startled easily & seems to need a few attempts at flight to get going.  Anyone?  What was undoubtedly clear to us was the big 6′ black bear that rambled across the trail in front of us!  My heart stopped for a moment & I told Jason I had the urge to hold his hand but settled on his backpack for a moment.  After we cheered for ourselves & the bear sighting, we quickly recognized how humbling it is to see such a creature in his own environment.  WOW.  We saw our bear!

Not sure which was more of a challenge – walking up the Mt. Marshall trail first thing or walking down it at the end.  Thanks to my friend Tara for the hiking poles.  They were a big help.  The mutual feeling of accomplishment coupled with “Yes, I could do another 10 miles” was encouraging!
Today’s hike overall was great – up the mountain, down the mountain, rocks, streams, grasses, dirt, sand… loved it.  Ticks & all.  One each, not so bad, really.  We were back in Arlington to pick up Liam by 3:45 at Potomac Overlook, & then Sophie at 4 at Long Branch.  Nice.

(I got a new backpack – Osprey Talon 11 – & tested it today.  Awesome.  Loved it.  Thanks to the nice guy at REI, Andreas.  He was patient & helpful & offered much information.  I had a full 3 liter Platypus bladder packed in there – perfect amount of water – along with my trusty first aid kit, snacks & a couple other random smalls.  Jason wears the Osprey Talon 22 & is pretty keen on his as well.)

Looking forward to figuring out what’s next!

Comments on: "Mt. Marshall/Bluff Trail Loop 7/11/11" (1)

  1. You guys are awesome! Glad you had your bear sighting. As for the bird, it wasn’t a ruffed grouse, as those are ground-dwellers. Are you sure it wasn’t a buzzard (turkey vulture)? They glide slowly looking for hikers. I mean prey…

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