Though the peak of fall leaf season has come and gone in the Virginia Shenandoahs, I still wanted to get out for a day with the wife. We finally had a Saturday with no agenda, so we took the opportunity to visit our favorite BBQ shop and see the last of the fall leaves in western Virginia.
While some people might not look forward to a day of 7+ hours driving, I do. Especially when it is with the best company in the world. With a loose agenda for the day, we were given the luxury of an easy pace.
Our first stop after the drive from Norfolk, Va through Richmond was the BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville, Va. We have a soft spot in our hearts and bellies for this place. For me, it is the Colonel Bacon BBQ sauce. For Sara, it has to be the cupcakes. Regardless, this has become a staple for us, and it filled us up for our hike in the afternoon.
From Gordonsville we made our way to the Crabtree Falls (see http://www.hikingupward.com/GWNF/CrabtreeFalls/) trail in George Washington National Forest. This is said to be the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi, and is a relatively easy hike ~1300ft elevation gain and is about 1.7 miles to the top. As such, it is just about the busiest hike in the park. If it is solitude you see, look elsewhere. Still, it is a fun hike and the falls are pretty. Even though most of the leaves had fallen, there were still some beautiful things to be found. Fun bonus: the parking fee is usually $3 but it was waved for Veteran's Day. Score!
The trail was hidden from the sun most of the hike until you reach the top, so it was a bit chilly as we hiked up and down. We spotted a few patches of ice here and there.
Additionally, by throwing the tenkara rod in the backpack and a gotubb with my line and flies, I was easily able to bring along the gear up to the top to find some pocket water to pick off one last brookie before I let them spawn for November.
After the hike, we were ready to eat again. Being in the area of the Brew Ridge Trail, we had no other option than to get some grub at one of the awesome microbreweries. The Blue Mountain Brewery was our destination. I sampled some phenomenal beers (some twice) and the food was excellent. Get a pizza and the bread pudding and you will not be disappointed.
After that, it was time for a nice drive home with my buddy. Sara and I got to share a great day together. As she is almost 25 weeks pregnant, quiet, one-on-one car rides will soon be a thing of the past. Of course, it will be fun in its own way.
My Leaky Waders might just become My Leaky Baby And Waders.