Shenandoah National Park / Skyline Drive

Last Updated 6/11/2008
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Just an hour west of Washington, DC, lies a beautiful, long, and narrow ridge of mountains known as Shenandoah National Park, one of the most accessible and easily reached National Parks in the USA. We will hike over 90 miles on the Appalachian Trail which spans the entire length of the park.

Our trek parallels the famed Skyline Drive, traversing miles of fine hardwood canopy, all on a ridge high above the surrounding valleys.


Shenandoah National Park View

Itinerary

The Shenandoah Fitpacking Trip will be from May 10-23, 2008. We sleep in tents most nights, but 3 nights will be spent in cabins with the occasional possibility of a shower. Here is the proposed itinerary.

Menus

We don't believe in austere eating regimens. Backpacking is a rigorous, rewarding activity. You must feed your body in order for it perform. Your body will dictate that you eat often. It's important to have fuel to feed it. Check out the sample menus . Note that this is not necessarily a comprehensive list. If you want to bring a big old chocolate cake, go for it. You'll not only hate carrying it over 90 miles through the Virginia mountains, your body will most likely not desire the empty calories anyway.

Cost

$1450 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a room with someone else during hotel nights.

You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Dulles as well as any restaurant meals eaten off the trail. The reason for this is to avoid the open bar drunkfest that can occur when food and alcohol are included.

Covered expenses include hotel stays, trail food, ground transportation, permits, guides, and emergency satellite phone service. Personal calls on the sat phone as well as restaurant meals are your responsibility.

Trip Leaders

Steve Silberberg, who lives in Hull, MA has many years of backpacking experience over a variety of terrains and guides most Fitpacking trips. He is a SOLO certified Wilderness First Responder.

Jim Lumpkins, who lives in Morristown, TN has backpacked all 900 miles of trails in the Great Smoky Mountains. He has guided several Fitpacking trips, and is a Wilderness Medicine certified Wilderness First Responder. He will be guiding the 2nd week.

3rd guide TBD

Important Note

Fitpacking is on an ongoing quest to expand its selection of trip destinations, As such, please be aware that this is our very first trip to Shenandoah National Park. The guides for this trip have NOT backpacked this particular 100-mile section of the Appalachian Trail before.

More adventurous participants usually consider pioneering a new Fitpacking trip to be exciting. Others prefer their trip to be time-tested with no surprises. Whatever your preference, the decades of backpacking experience that our guides possess will permeate every aspect of the trip in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.


Shenandoah Waterfall

Equipment List

Here is a list of equipment we suggest you bring.

Difficulty

This trip is one of Fitpacking's more ambitious offerings, so it's not as appropriate for borderline sedentary individuals or those uncertain of their ability. The trails through Shenandoah National Park are actually well groomed with good footing and moderate elevation gain and loss. However the difficulty arises because there are several days of 10 mile hikes planned. While this may not seem like much while sitting at your computer or even after say, 7 miles of hiking, cumulative fatigue sets in and every subsequent mile becomes more challenging. The upside is that in May, there will be as much as 14 hours of daylight, which gives plenty of time to complete our daily mileage.

Route

Our journey will begin at the South end of Shenandoah NP at the Furnace Mountain Trailhead. The first day will involve a fairly steep climb to ascend the ridge that joins the Appalachain Trail. From there, we'll hike Northbound every day for almost two weeks, staying near AT shelters, car campgrounds, and cabins.