Hiking Hightop Mountain

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So I love the beginning of spring because it smells like earth and dirt, the air is warm and dewy and everything is starting to wake up. What I don't like is feelin' all that warm air but having no green leaves on the trees. I wish all the trees were like the Womping Willow and, POOF, they all have green leaves... no waiting involved haha. Richmond has been in full bloom for awhile but the mountains are definitely a few weeks behind us. 

That aside, the other day I met my parents to hike Hightop Mountain in Shenandoah National Park. The day was a perfect early spring day but when we got to the top of the mountain the wind was whipping and about 10 degrees colder than when we left the parking lot. This hike has a steady incline all the way to the summit that will really get your heart pumping. Luckily my Dad brought his Camelbak with water (we would've died without it) because during the course of my drive out to Shenandoah, my Camelbak leaked every last bit of water all over the back of my Jeep because my cat bit a hole in the reservoir. Luckily I had a towel and thick southwestern blanket under the pack so it was all absorbed up but still, note to self: don't leave hiking gear out where that little feline can chew it.

Carrying on... when you get to the top of the mountain you'll come to your first vista but the view is obstructed by trees. A couple hundred feet down you'll see a short little side trail (really short) that leads out to an incredible view to the west and south of Shenandoah. The view is seriously amazing! We were so lucky to have a very clear day so we could see past Harrisonburg to the Jefferson Forrest & border of West Virginia. Also, the outlook faces directly where the sun sets so this would be a great little hike to catch a sunset. We stayed for about 15 minutes before heading back down because it was so dang windy! I was holding my shirt closed in all the pictures because I had just gotten it thrifting and it had no buttons so it was flying open every which way. We only say four other people on the trail which isn't too bad for a hike to a view like that! For more information and directions to this hike go here.

Lets talk SNP yearly passes real quick. Bottom line is to get one. If you go and hike 3-4 times in a year it'll pay for itself. It makes the process of getting into the park a breeze too. It's only $40 a year which is $10 more than last year but it's so worth it. I obviously hit this park at least twice a month (I do a lot more hikes than I don't put on this blog, I only put up repeat hikes if I hike a trail in a new season or I get better pictures) so for me it's definitely worth it. My pass expires at the end of the month and I will definitely be out there at the beginning of April to get my next one! 

I'm soooo excited for this spring for a few reasons... First and foremost, Michael and I have a big road trip planned to eastern Tennessee to see a bunch of waterfalls and camp! Secondly, we have some fly fishing trips planned and the more I practice that sport the more I love it. It's been such a fun experience having him teach me about fly fishing and getting to share that hobby with him. Lastly I've made a list of a ton of hikes I've been wanting to do for awhile and I've literally planned them out on my calendar so I can finally make time to do them. Oh and I have a backpacking trip planned. Two more days until the first day of SPRING!