Mary Had a Rock

My Monday morning at Shenandoah was cloudy and there wasn’t much chance of the sun getting through the clouds as it rose, so I don’t have any photos worth sharing of that. But I did meet my brother and his kids for a hike up to Mary’s Rock. This hike is out-and-back from Thorton Gap parking lot totaling 3.4 miles and 1210 feet of elevation gain. It basically follows the Appalachian Trail up to a short trail that leads to a high overlook. It was a hazy day, but since I made the climb I took a few mediocre photos, one of which is shown below. From Mary’s Rock you can see the town of Luray, where we went and ate lunch.

Later in the afternoon, I began a hike down to a waterfall, but by the time I got about halfway there, I realized that I had started too late in the day and I didn’t want to be climbing back in the dark, so I turned around and climbed back to the parking lot. I stopped at an overlook as the sun was about to set and took the following photo of the sunlight upon the mountains. Not sure the composition is all that great but I really like the light.

The next day, sunrise was not really worth the trouble again so I went on my planned hike. I parked the rental at the Milam Gap parking area, headed across the road and down the Mill Prong Trail to hopefully see some waterfall activity and then on to Rapidan Camp, where I headed up the Laurel Prong Trail which connects up to the Appalachian Trail, which I took back to the parking lot. I highlighted the route in yellow on the map below. This was about a 7 mile loop with the Mill Prong Trail a steady descent down to Rapidan Camp (731 feet according to AllTrails), the Laurel Prong Trail was a steady climb back up ending with a very rocky climb up the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Trail then continued to climb up to a hilltop and then descended back to the parking lot. It was a nice workout.

I stood barefoot in the cold water to take the following waterfall photo so I am including it. This is a waterfall along the Mill Prong Trail and I liked the big mossy boulders. It was sunny, which made the shadows a bit harsh, but I didn’t have much choice about that. There was also a large shadow cast by my tripod and camera in the extreme lower right which I photoshopped away; the blurry water made that easy. As you can also see, the trees had given up most of their leaves by now. It would be fun to see this in the snow.

There was another waterfall by the footbridge, but I didn’t like it as much. I mainly just hiked after shooting the above photo. I hoped to see some deer or something but it was just me and the chipmunks. Below are photos of the footbridge, which I did not fall off of, and a trail marker post.

Lastly I have a photo taken as the sun was going down from an overlook in the southern part of the park. I thought that the two foreground trees would look good against the hazy mountains and cloudy sky. I didn’t expect the sky to catch any color as the sun set as the western horizon had a lot of thick clouds on it. This photo was taken during a brief period in which the sunlight was getting through the clouds.

I eventually went to Charlottesville for dinner and when I drove back, it was dark and foggy along the mountain highway and the road was covered with blowing leaves which made it even more difficult to see. But at least there were many deer running in the road that I could barely see to keep me worried. I made it back safely.

The next morning I had to leave and I planned to be checked out of the lodge and get to a particular spot well before sunrise to give myself time to shoot before driving to the airport. I think this planned worked out well and I’ll post about it next time.

60 thoughts on “Mary Had a Rock

  1. Great shots. I’ve got to go with the second shot, of the setting sunlight lighting up the trees, as my favorite. The fall foliage in the eastern U.S. is always a time of beauty, though the duration is too brief.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I worked on that shot a lot and thought it looked too much like it was taken by a phone the way it looks over contrasted. But thanks.

      I did enjoy going there to see the foliage. That is not something that is very common in Texas

      Liked by 1 person

            1. About four years ago we traveled to New England to see the autumn foliage. We got there in late-September and left in early-October, and were too early for the peak foliage. But it was still pretty.

              Liked by 2 people

            2. Yes, my Dad is! He is excited about them being in the World series. My mom says he has been staying up too late watching them. LOL! used to i watch games with him when I was at home and we went to see them a couple times.

              Liked by 1 person

            3. I will have to stop by tomorrow with a pie 🥧 for him. Hope your guilty conscience keeps you awake. Maybe if you would havd rooted for them they would have won. LOL!
              Now how am I supposed to write my story, hearing that sad news.

              Liked by 1 person

            4. Oh gosh! How loyal your “long suffering” has been. But hmmm…. have my Dad feel sad or you???? Welllll ….. what about my mom, the sweet, dear grandmother who now has a sad husband?


            5. And wait a minute, I have been a long suffering fan too. In fact I still stayed faithful to them after losing a bet against my co-worker the last time they competed for the World Series, many years ago!


    1. I figured I should post it at sunrise tomorrow. My final photos before I flew out where my favorites of the entire trip and I am really proud of them. I have spent happy hours looking at them and processing them over the past week.

      Liked by 1 person

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