Sunday, January 7, 2018

Little Devil's Staircase in a Cold Snap

Little Devils Staircase was the very first hike I did in Shenandoah National Park way back in 2005. It seemed like a pretty big, steep hike at the time, even though we only did the shorter loop that day. I've hiked it several times since then, but oddly, not since 2010. We snowshoed it that year after snowmaggedon. It is a great hike up a narrow canyon filled with little waterfalls. We figured that, since we haven't warmed up to even freezing in the last two weeks, that all of those waterfalls would have nice ice formations.

Today, it was 10 degrees when we arrived at the trailhead. Fortunately, there wasn't any wind. One nice thing about starting at the bottom of the mountain at those temperatures is you get warmed up fairly quickly from the work of hiking uphill immediately.
 Leaves trapped in the ice on the frozen creek.
 One of the first waterfalls
 Ice near one of many places where the trail crosses the creek. A couple of the crossings involved shuffling across very slippery ice (The creek is generally not very deep).
 Ribbons of ice across a rock. These look a bit like snakeskins to me.
 Ice at the bottom of a waterfall.
 Fungi on a tree.
 The Little Devils Staircase trail ends at the Keyser Run Fire Road. We decided to hike up the fire road to Skyline Drive.
 Once at the drive, we walked a short distance down to the Mount Marshall Overlook and had a great view to the east. That is The Peak on the left side of the photo.
Looking up at the trees near the Bolen Cemetery on Keyser Run Fire Road.

It was a lovely hike. After not doing much hiking beyond volunteering on Old Rag in 2017, it felt really good to be out. We saw a grand total of three people on the trails. By the time we reached the car, it was a balmy 25 degrees.

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