There’s a reason why folks rarely photograph the journey to an outlook, a peak, or summit. We wait to pull out the camera ’til the top because the way up is filled with horrible grunting faces, wincing, crawling on all fours, and flippin’ off the not-even-sweating children jumping down the trail while you’re laid out against the rock you fell on.
At least, that’s what my frequent treks to the top look like. E falls more into the category of the jumping children, but graciously drags me bodily up every bump and scramble. But I’m OK with that. Because when we do make it to the top, like this past weekend when we hiked up to Humpback Rock, I get to look at my dear husband saluting the entire Shenandoah Valley.
The .8 mile trail up gains 800 FT in elevation to reach the outcrop – which is not too viscous – but it’s thoroughly stony and, if you’re like me, requires you to go up billy goat style on some of the steeper scrambles. Instead of going back the way we came, we decided to take an alternate route. If you head north onto the trail from Humpback that links with the AT, you can meander down a 2.7 mile trail back to the parking lot. It took longer, but a much nicer leisurely way down without all the extra people.