Friday, June 26, 2015

Shenandoah Vacation - Hiking the Massanutten Ridge Trail

FINALLY… we managed to eke out enough time as a family to get out and do some hiking.  During our week-long summer vacation in the Shenandoah Valley Lori, Spencer, Braxton and I hit the Massanutten Ridge Trail for an early morning hike.  If you’re not familiar with the area, Massanutten Resort is a four-seasons resort near Harrisonburg, Virginia.  They have a few ski slopes in the winter, hiking, pools, golf, and adventure activities in the summer.  They also have a great year round indoor water park.  If you‘re familiar with the area but not the trail, take Del Webb Drive to the top of the mountain.  The trail head is on the left with good parking and a great view at the overlook.  From there you can hike the Ridge Trail, or cross the road and take the Kaylor Knob Trail.  The Ridge Trail runs 4 miles and can be accessed via a resort shuttle, allowing you to do it one-way.  This was Momma Bear and Braxton’s first outing carrying and riding in the back-pack, so we traveled about 1.5 miles and turned back before we hit what other some reviews have referred to as a 'really rocky section'.  

Highlights of the trip:
  • Spencer learned he is a rock climber.  We traveled 3 miles round trip.  Spencer traveled approximately 8 miles total because he zigged and zagged up the trail so he could climb and jump off each rock in the path.  He had an absolute blast.
  • Momma thought she heard a rattle snake.  She is very confident in this, and her pace increased significantly all the way back to the car.  I’m skeptical, and personally think she heard a bird or a locust, but don’t tell her that!
  • The views were gorgeous.  The trail is well maintained and well-marked.  We were up and hiking early, before the sun had time to really heat things up.  I recommend bug spray ANYWHERE outside in the Shenandoah this time of year, but they weren't too bad on our hike.

During our week the boys also made two evening trips to the water park.  Spencer was such a big boy, sliding down the big water slides all by himself.  Momma almost had to be medicated watching her little boy go whisking off down a spiral slide alone.  Braxton didn’t love it like Spencer did, but he had fun.  He’s still a little small for this sort of fun and he wasn’t crazy about all the water in his eyes.  Spencer also enjoyed the bungee trampoline, which he had to go on twice, and he rode a horse all by himself.    The boys both painted garden animals at a craft class and we took a side trip to Luray Caverns. 

Best quotes from Luray:
Spencer: after apparently being strapped in to his backpack a little too snugly (a cave is not the place you want your child to pop out of the backpack unexpectedly), as the tour guide quieted the crowd and began his speech, Spencer loudly announced (it echoed off the cave walls) “Mom, my peter hurts”.  We quickly loosened the straps, and with burning red faces we continued the tour.  All was well and Spencer was once again comfortable.
(Learning lesson for dads out there.  During potty training, when mom says to refer to it as a 'pot pot' rather than a 'peter', consider listening to her.  It may save you some embarrassment in a cave someday)

A little further along...
Tour Guide: “and if you look to your left you’ll see a formation that looks a little like Snoopy”
Spencer: “Mom, did that man just say poopy?”
Mom: “No son, he said Snoopy”
Spencer (somewhat disappointed): “Oh”

Wonderful summer vacation.  Everyone had a blast and the kids can’t wait to go back next summer.  Momma and I even had a chance to sneak off the the Crosskey Winery for lunch and a tasting.  Wow, there are a lot of wineries in VA.  We'll be back!!