The middle entrance to this park with the famous Skyline Drive is only about 40 miles from where I am staying, so I visited on Sunday and again today.
Sunday's visit took me to the visitor center to get a pin, since I wasn't collecting them yet when I was last here in October, 2006. From there, I went on a short hike to see some waterfalls, and stopped at a few of the lookouts to the western mountains and eastern Piedmont plains.
Today, I wore my hiking boots and prepared to walk in the rain. I walked some of the Appalachian Trail, and another 3.3 mile trail to more waterfalls. I found a couple of letterboxes along the way and kept warm by walking. But on the uphill sections, I had to rest under trees to keep out of most of the rain. At the entrance to the park is a monument and state historical marker noting that Alexander Spotswood found the Shenandoah valley to the west of the mountains in 1715. I remembered reading about that in Orange last week and, in fact, this bit of historical trivia is what impressed me most about this visit. So, when I found a letterbox near the marker and the stamp is a replica of the monument to him and the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe, I was ecstatic!