Thursday, July 16, 2009

Shenandoah Days 2 and 3

The wildlife in Shenandoah has balls. This much is clear. On our first night 'camping' in the veritable hotel that is Big Meadows campground, deer and a skunk walked within feet of the 5 of us as we roasted hot dogs. The most bold display of disregard for the might of man, with our opposable thumbs and all, came from a raccoon. He leaped upon our picnic table, WHILE WE WERE SITTING AT IT, grabbed an entire pack of hot dog buns and ran off into the bushes. We were too stunned to give chase. Unbelievable.

Mangy-looking yearling.

Yearling of a different species.

In the morning we decided to take on Old Rag. Rising 2,300 feet above the starting point, reaching the summit requires some long uphill walks, vertical climbs, squeezing through some short caves and shimmying along some narrow cracks. The views are spectacular and the 9 mile hike took more than 5 hours.

Beginning the scramble.

On Sunday we again took out the fly rods and hiked down the Dark Hollow Falls trail, following a stream that flows over 5 waterfalls between 40 and 90 ft and countless other magnificent plunges. Each bend and dip in elevation revealed stacked pools surrounded by giant trees, lush vegetation and decent casting lanes. We slayed.

Gearing up with a hopper-dropper.


Brookies reside in almost every tiny pool.

In a word: lush.

The brookies along Dark Hollow falls trail are uniquely colorful. We hooked into one trophy which we pulled from a 25ft narrow waterfall which terminated in a trench about as big as a picnic table. My size 22 black adams dry fly was invisible in the turbulence and it sank, but I saw an uncommonly large flash near the undercut bank. Setting the hook, we brought a 10inch brook trout to hand, snapped a few pics, marveled, and released. The rest of the 6 mile hike, up and down with more than 1000 vertical feet traversed, we hammered them on dries around every bend of the river. It was an awesome day.

The Trophy returning to his lair.

Evolution, baby.

oranges, golds, blues, reds....

grays, whites, blacks...

and greens.

1 comment:

Wade Rivers said...

Beautiful series of images! Thanks for taking us along.