We all squeezed into Miss Janet’s van this morning and headed to Weasie’s Kitchen for breakfast, a great local diner. Then we dropped off Stretch and Uncle Buck to aqua blaze Shenandoah, which means canoeing or kayaking up the river instead of hiking past the white blazes. Aqua blazing sounds like a lot of fun and I would love to do it, but I’m still a purist and I want to hike the trail in order north.

The rest of us got dropped off back at the trail around 11:00 and we entered Shenandoah National Park. Everyone needed to fill out a back country permit, which was free, but you get fined in you don’t have one. The terrain is relatively easy here: ups and downs under 500 feet and generally wide, clear paths. The trail crosses back and forth over Skyline Drive a lot so there are plenty of scenic overlooks to check out there as well.

I went 20.5 miles to Blackrock Hut. The shelters here are called huts, and day use structures are called shelters. I got here a little after dark because of the day’s late start but only needed my headlamp for half an hour or so. Summer solstice is tomorrow so daylight lasted until after 9:00.