This was our 2nd trip in the camper. This time it was me and my son. We spent 3 nights at the KOA Natural Bridge / Lexington.
This particular KOA is not my favorite campground. The campground staff is not taking the threat from the Covid-19 virus seriously. At no point over the weekend was I within 6 feet (1.83 m) of a stranger for more than about 3 seconds, so I’m not worried about my safety. I am worried about all the kids that spent the evenings running around with their new campground friends. The campsites are right on top of each other, almost like camper town homes. "High-speed” wifi that runs at 1998 dial up speeds is actually worse than no wifi at all, because they gave the hope of being able to upload a photo when in fact it was never going to happen. The two photos I posted to FB over the weekend were both posted from the tops of mountains while hiking. All that said, the restrooms and showers were clean, and the campground was quiet when quiet hours hit.
We spent Independence Day at the Devil’s Marbleyard. (Insert your own joke here.) It was planned as a circuit hike but after the 2.5 mile (ca. 4 km) climb to the high point we found the unblazed return trail to be indistinguishable from the surrounding forest. So we turned around and made it an out and back hike.
800 feet, pretty much straight up.
We made it! The view from the top
On the 5th we did the Cove Mountain circuit hike. It starts off with a nice waterfall in the first ¼ mile. Then becomes an uphill hike to the Appalachian Trail at about mile 1.5. We followed the old abandoned AT on the way, which was an exercise of getting around downed trees that blocked the trail as it’s not maintained. We were able to pick out the barely visible old AT trail markings on some of the larger trees. The AT continues mostly uphill, (with an extended ridge walk) for about 3 miles (ca. 5 km) before heading back down the mountain on another trail and back the car. The last mile of the hike descends into a valley that felt very much like a rain forest. It wasn’t raining, but everything was wet from the humidity. The heat was brutal both days. Both hikes started at around 1000 feet (0.3 km) elevation. It was 93F back home, so it was still 90F at the trailheads. For our late July camping trip I need to plan hikes that start at about 3000 feet (0.91 km) up. The evening of the 5th featured some serious natural fireworks from mother nature, although the storm skirted just north of the campground, giving us an impressive thunder and lightening show without the rain and wind.
Jennings Creek - starting point
Waterfall 5 minutes into hike
On the Appalachian Trail
A PB&J always tastes better with this kind of view
Our A-Liner Grand Ascape was just fine. Everything is working as expected on it and I’m starting to get into the rhythm of camping in a small camper. I got about 15.5 mpg towing into the Shenandoah mountains. I can live with that. One minor annoyance is that the Ford Edge didn’t add a larger gas tank with the towing package, so my range when towing is about 250 miles (ca. 402 km). That’s a lot a gas stops if you are on an extended trip.
I know I took a couple of photos of our campsite, but all I've got on my phone is this photo of one of the chickens that wandered through our campsite several times over the weekend.