Ticks, rattlesnakes, bears and wildfires.
Waynesboro, VA to Front Royal, VA.
The Shenandoah National Park was beautiful, with nice terrain and a very well maintained section of the trail. Along the way, there were waysides and camp stores to stop at and get milkshakes, food, beer and a resupply of junk food. The Skyline Drive is the parkway road traveled by park visitors. The Appalachian Trail follows The Skyline Drive but instead of going around all the mountains from overlook to overlook, the trail goes up and down the ridge line with less overlooks. One major problem encountered was the amount of ticks, I had about five or six on me each day. I hate ticks! I also saw a few rattlesnakes and my first bear sighting yet since being on the trail. On Sunday night a cold front moved through creating thunderstorm with intense lightning. The next day smoke was in the air, and from views you could see a fire in the distance. We all thought it was a controlled Forrest Service fire, but when we got into Front Royal, VA, National Park Service fire fighters were at the hotel and said there are two wildfires in the area from lightning strikes.
Here is a blurb by Baby Steps about his experience of through The Shennies-
In seven days J-Dub and I made our way through the 103 miles of The Shennandoah National Park. Between the hot meals at the waysides and the beautiful views it was a great stretch of hiking, aside from the ticks and the occasional wildfire in the distance. The weather was also awesome with the exception of a crazy thunderstorm on Sunday night that created said wildfires. The Shennies proved to be the first time I felt my hiker hunger really start to kick in and I just couldn’t seem to get enough to eat, even a giant piece of blackberry ice-cream pie couldn’t quite fill me. Now we’re in Front Royal recouping and getting ready to push on into Harper’s Ferry! -Baby Steps