Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sherando Lake / Stokesville Campground

In my opinion, the biggest discovery of this summer has been the Stokesville campground and the trails their crew has been busily improving. In April, we scratched the surface and I've been eager to return to explore the rest of the trail network running throughout and around the campground.

Another of our favorite XC destinations is Sherando Lake. We primarily enjoy this spot due to its proximity to Richmond, the ability to shuttle from our campsite, and the beautiful lake at its base. This time around we leap-frogged down the mountain from our campsite. First, Rebecca and I (and the dogs) rode the slacks trail. We met Joey at the slacks parking lot on the Blue Ridge Parkway and then let him enjoy the rest of the descent while we grabbed our vehicle from the top. After that we relaxed by the lake before bidding Rebecca farewell and heading to Stokesville.

Joey and I arrived at the Stokesville campground with enough time to squeeze in a short ride on their campsite trails. In the morning I snuck in another before breakfast.

For the day's ride, we decided to try a variation of the Narrowback Mountain Loop. An extended ride on road and fireroad helped warm our legs for the singletrack cliumb ahead. Once on singletrack, the climbing was cut short when I spotted a bear cub and decided to turn around before meeting momma bear. The descent was great! The guys at the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition have been hard at work adding water drainage and a fast, flowing trail that absolutely screams down the mountain! An easy pedal down the road and we were back at camp, ready to pack and head home. Another excellent weekend in the mountains.

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Saturday, July 9, 2016

New River (Fayetteville, WV)

After our trip to First Landing in June, Rebecca's brother Scott suggested we plan a trip to the New River before the summer slipped away. Later the next week he'd found a groupon for River Expeditions and we made plans to redeem the voucher the second weekend in July.

On our drive to the campsite we were met with rain, but it let up by the time we'd reached the facility. The next day we woke to a clear, blue sky which stuck around for the duration of the weekend.

The river was high and running fast, which made our trip short but exciting. I actually preferred the express trip, since it left ample time for us to explore the town of Fayetteville and the nearby New River Gorge Bridge.

That afternoon we decided to drive to Babcock State Park. We were delighted to find that the cabin rental rates were very reasonable, so we sprung for a cabin over tent camping the final night. We hiked from our cabin to a few of the landmarks listed on the park map before returning to the cabin to cook dinner over the charcoal grille.

The next morning we packed up and headed home, making a stop for food in Lewisburg, West Virginia. We picked up the dogs from their first visit to Dog's Day Inn and they collapsed on the couch soon after we were home like tired children after a week at summer camp.

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Monday, July 4, 2016

Snowshoe (West Virginia)

After years of making the trek to Snowshoe, through the winding roads of West Virginia, I've been looking forward to experiencing those same corners on my motorcycle. The problem with this, however, is the inability of bringing along my DH bike. Luckily, my fantastic fiance Rebecca and trusted riding partner Joey were willing to schlep all of our gear so that Ian and I could ride our motos.

Ian and I set off Friday afternoon once the morning's rain had subsided. We took a leisurely route along Route 250 instead of Interstate 64. The ride was a bit longer, but put us in camp just before dark. After starting a fire and polishing off a few cold ones, we began to wonder when we'd see Rebecca and Joey. They'd both driven separately, but actually crossed paths on the fire road just before the campsite and arrived simultaneously.

The next morning we rode at Snowshoe - Rebecca took her XC bike to 6,000 Steps, while Ian, Joey, and I rode the park on DH rigs. The trail crew has been hard at work, as we noticed several improvements including a totally revamped road gap.

After her ride, Rebecca loaded up the dogs and pointed the Fiesta for home. Once we'd thoroughly exhausted ourselves, we said goodbye to Ian as he also headed back to Richmond.

Joey and I took the lift to Shavers Lake before heading towards Slatyfork to camp another night.

The next morning we brewed coffee and began to discuss the rest of our trip. The original plan was to ride at Timberline on Sunday, but the looming inclement weather kept us at Snowshoe until the drops began falling.

The ride home was a bit wet, but over by the time the heavy downfall set in.

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