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Rose River- SNP, VA Day Hike

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This 9.5 mile circuit day hike took place on Saturday, November 26th, 2005. Participants were Charlie Johnson, Chris Isham, Bill Isham, Jim Casserly, Robert Dwarkin and myself.

This was a tough hike to plan. It seemed that everyone was busy during a holiday weekend like Thanksgiving. But we managed to get some people to sign up for the same day so we met at the trail head at the western end of VA670 near Syria, VA. I still wasn't sure which route that we would take for this hike. We had 3 choices: an 8.3 mile loop, a 10.8 mile loop and an up and back route along the Old Gordonsville Pike Fire Road for 13.2 miles.

We took a vote and opted for the 10.3 mile loop, which we would later amend to the 8.3 mile loop. Anyway, we got started around 10:15AM, went about 1.5 miles on the Fire Road, then turned right onto a faint path to begin a 1.5 mile 'bushwhacking route from hell'.

The guide book that I was using was a 1976 edition of Circuit Hikes in Shenandoah National Park by James Denton. I met the gentleman, now deceased, that wrote this book about 25 years ago. He was very enthusiastic about the AT and hiking in general. He described this bushwhacking route as "not difficult" in the book. Either the terrain has changed dramatically on this bushwhacking route in the last 30 years or he was overly enthusiastic about his description of it. It was a tough 1.5 miles. There was no easy way to hike along this river. It was 'dicey', to quote a previous hiker to this area. There were blowdowns, rocks, gorges to navigate and treacherous footing. It was fun at first, but soon got old and tiring.

The one good thing about this bushwhacking that we did was that the views of the river were fantastic! There were alot of waterfalls as well as neat looking ice formations near these waterfalls caused by splashing water that froze to the surrounding rocks upon contact. We should have some great pictures posted here soon of them. The temperature was around 25 degrees when we started, got somewhere between 35 and 40 during the hike, then was 33 degrees when I departed.

We ate lunch around 12ish. We sat on rocks at the waters edge. The rushing water was so loud that we could not hear each other talk while we were eating. The final half mile of bushwhacking was the worst of the trip due to the conditions mentioned above. We finally got to a fork in the river and were supposed to cross it there to a real trail. But we could not cross the river because it was too deep. At first, we were going to walk on the south side of the tributary at the fork called Hogback Branch. However, the gorge was too deep and we could not find any discernable trail in the area. We were also getting worried in that it was approaching 2PM and that we needed to get out of there before it got dark. We had some discussion and decided to try and hike towards the parallel fire road that we were supposed to be returning on. So we started hiking up the gorge and soon came across an old road that was in my guide but not on a recent topo map. We guessed that this old road should intersect with the fire road. Thank God it did. They even had one of those concrete posts with the metal bands around it at the intersection telling us that it was 4.4 miles back to our cars.

At least we now knew where we were and it would be all down hill back to our vehicles. So we took a break and then started back down the fire road. Soon after we started off we noticed someone coming up from behind. It was Robert D, who signed up for this hike but was a late arrival. He had hiked up to the Dark Hollow Falls and was on his way back. We talked alot about hiking on the way back down and, hopefully, he'll be joining us for some more hikes.

We got back to our cars around 3:45PM, said our good byes and hit the road. This was a tough hike. The views of the river were nice, but the bushwhacking was tough. I liked the fire road more. Even though this loop was supposed to be 8.3 miles, we ended up hiking about 9.5 miles due to the zig-zagging that we had to endure during our bushwhacking. One last thing. I will also have to update my copy of Circuit Hikes in Shenandoah National Park.

More Pictures

Mike C
Group picture before the hike
  Group picture before the hike.
  By Charlie Johnson
Scene along the Rose River
  Scene along the Rose River.
  By Charlie Johnson

Another scene along the Rose River
  Another scene along the Rose River.
  By Charlie Johnson
A 3rd scene along the Rose River
  A 3rd scene along the Rose River.
  By Charlie Johnson

Vine shaped like a heart
  Vine shaped like a heart.
  By Charlie Johnson

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