It was a quick 92 miles from Lexington to Luray, Va. The first 40 miles was on I-81 with heavy traffic but once we started the back roads, the traffic was almost non-existent which suited me fine. We are staying at the Luray KOA, formerly known as the Country Waye Campground. We have a very nice 50 amp full hookup pull-through with a large field out our right side. Verizon is good and the satellite was easy - the campground had great WiFi when we checked in and the campground was empty, but it deteriorated rapidly when the weekend crowd arrived. Without our Verizon MiFi we would have effectively been without the Internet.
Thursday we traveled up to Front Royal and started the Skyline Drive from the top. It rained most of the night and there was still some fog as we started out but by the time we reached the drive in the Shenandoah National Park
, the fog had cleared but we still had a lot of haze that limited the visibility quite a bit. We drove 32 miles of the 105 mile Skyline Drive and walked a couple of trails and generally just enjoyed the outing. Returning to Luray we decided to go ahead and see the Luray Caverns
Thursday afternoon as we were supposed to have thunderstorms in the afternoon and that wouldn't affect seeing the caverns. We were surprised at how good the caverns were. We had seen Carlsbad Caverns, Mammoth Caves and a number of other caves so we didn't really expect Luray to impress us but they did! They had numerous formations covering the whole cavern with many different rooms full of them and the lighting was really well done.
Friday morning the sun broke through early and we headed back for the Skyline Drive to drive and hike the middle portion of it. Just after getting on it we went into the clouds as they hadn't burned off there yet. As we climbed we did finally get above the clouds but the visibility was so poor not many pictures were taken. We walked the Limberlost Trail which turned out to be a nice stroll though the woods without too much elevation change, much unlike the two trails we walked on Thursday. The last half-mile of the trail was through a thick mountain laurel area which will be gorgeous in another week or so as they are just starting to bloom.
We stayed at the campground over the weekend since we didn't want to contend with the holiday crowds in the Shenandoah National Park or anywhere else for that matter. We just relaxed and watched a little softball and baseball. I can't believe how bad the Gators did in their elimination game against Vandy - some real bad relief work!!
Monday we headed back to finish the last 40 miles of the Skyline Drive. It was a pretty day but still hazy so the vista pictures are still not as good as I would hope. About the middle of the drive we walked the Frazier Discovery Trail which was supposed to be an easy 1.3 mile hike through the woods. Well we "discovered" that they lie a lot. The first half of it was straight up Loft Mountain over some fairly tough terrain in some points. We have never been able to figure out how the park system rates their trails? We have been on some easier than this one that were rated moderate and others just as hard that were rated easy. At first we thought they rated on the difficulty of traversing trails over rocks, etc. and then we thought maybe it had to do with elevation change during the trail. But this one was both rocky in places and had a substantial grade for over a half-mile. We still enjoyed it and the view at the top was great but we were tired by the time we got back. Doris even bruised her big toe jamming it into the toe of her shoe as we came back down the mountain. It's all black and blue today.
Tomorrow, we head on a short trip up to Falling Waters, WV for four nights. It is located near Harper's Ferry, Antietam National Battlefield and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park.