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Down the river with a paddle

From: Mike
Sent on: Friday, August 3, 2007 7:28 AM

From co-leaders, Paul & Mike:

Join us next Sunday, August 12, for an outing amid the hills of Shenandoah River State Park, overlooking the beautifully serene valley of the Shenandoah's River's South Fork. (When you come to a fork in the river, pick it up!)

The first leg will consist of a semi-circular (and somewhat circuitous) hike of about 6 miles and 3000 feet of elevation change, ending at the conveniently located river outfitter. Most of the trail, especially the hilly parts, is shaded. The hike will be moderately paced and we?ll stop for lunch at a rocky overlook with a bountiful view of the valley.

For the last leg (or fin), you will have the option of either walking along the riverbank for about 3.5 miles to the trailhead or paddling back on the same river, underlooking the hills you?ll have just traversed, the Blue Ridge further east, and Massanutten Mountain to the west.

For the river part:
* Reservations are required, so let us know via email by COB Thursday, August 9; earlier would be better. (If you've already told us you want to do the river part, please reconfirm.)
* Options include paddling a canoe (2 paddlers) for about $25 per person, or a kayak (1 person) for about $40, or being a passenger in a canoe for about $5. Two-person kayaks may be available as well. Let us know what you prefer; we?ll let you know the exact price later. Bring payment in the form of cash with you.
* Cost includes craft, paddles, and PFDs (life jackets).
* You do not need to have experience paddling. We will pair novices in canoes as paddlers (or as passengers) with more experienced paddlers. Let us know if you would prefer not to paddle. The section of the river we will paddle is very gentle.
* We'll leave the water craft at the trailhead to be picked up by the outfitter.
* Bring extra clothing and a towel or two just in case, all of which can remain in the car; old sneakers or water shoes, although bare feet are OK; and sun block (you?ll need it). Don?t bring anything you would not want to lose or get wet.
* Important note: We reserve the right to cancel the river part by 9 PM Saturday due to river conditions (too low or too high) or weather (e.g., lightning). Check your email until then if not doing the river part would cause you to cancel. (We will understand.)

For the hike: Bring lunch and at least two quarts of water (make it three if the weather is hot) and consider freezing the filled bottles beforehand. Bring money for the suggested carpooling cost of $7/passenger, your share of the park entry fee of $4/car, and a possible icy treat after the hike. Other things to consider bringing are insect repellent, sun block, binoculars, camera, hat, and sunglasses.

We'll meet at 8:30AM at the Vienna Metro station, north Park & Ride lot. (From the Beltway, take I-66 west 2mi to Route 243, Nutley St., north. Turn left after 0.1mi onto Virginia Center Blvd. Go 0.3mi, and turn left into first Metro parking entrance, ?North Parking Lot.? Go through gate and park. It?s free.)

The hike with the river part is rated 2.5 blisters (and half a callus); without the river part, it's 3.1 blisters. (Blister rating: easy, 3.5)

To reserve for the river part, contact me directly at [address removed].

Last week's Hawksbill hike went great, with 18 people attending. I've posted some photos; more to come.

Back to the future:
- The Labor Day weekend trip (August 30 to September 3) to explore the natural wonders of eastern West Virginia has been fully booked. Sorry. Maybe next year.
- A late October (probably 20/21) overnight hiking trip with a stay at a rustic cabin (probably Jones Mountain Cabin) is filling up fast and has very few places open. Let me know if you're interested.
- Saturday, November 3, we'll go to WV's Cacapon State Park for a moderate hike. Some may stay overnight and do something more on Sunday. Stay tuned to this channel.

If you've read to this point, I suggest a couple more cups of coffee to get you through the rest of the day.

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