16: Virginia
Elizabeth Furnace

Elizabeth Furnace

When a warm and sunny mid-week weather window presented itself this past week, we did the obvious thing which was to pack up the camper and head for the hills (of Virginia). Actually mountains. We headed for the mountains of Virginia – specifically the Allegheny.

I’m still learning about the mountains out here. I know there’s the Blue Ridge and Shenendoah and Allegheny and Appalachian. I’m not sure if they are all part of the same system or their own thing or what, but I’ll figure it all out and report to you as I do.

What I can tell you about this trip is that we went to Elizabeth Furnace in the very tippy-top north of Virginia in the Allegheny Mountains. Here we were able to get in two very nice days of climbing, a little biking around camp, some hiking, and a killer (not-in-a-good-way) mountain bike ride (Stéphane).

Full service here at the Mr. Fuel
The very short but treacherous walk to the first crag, Talking Heads wall. This crag was right off the road but you had to park a bit down road from it and walk in on the road. I was surprised by how busy this road was and how fast people took the curve.
Hugo surprised us and showed great excitement and interest in wanting to climb (not just swing).
All smiles
Go Hugo!
Unfazed by the very different rock out here, Stéphane led the charge, setting up our climbs with minimal effort.
Happy place
Books, beer, and campfire.
Although Elizabeth Furnace is in the George Washington National Forest, there was no dispersed camping allowed so we snugged up amongst the other campers in the local campground. Definitely not my style of camping but Hugo enjoyed playing with the other children in the campground.
Day Two: Two mile 700+ feet elevation gain hike up to Buzzard Rock. We fueled Hugo with mini marshmallows and promises of fun climbs at the top.
Overlook on the hike up.
We made it to Buzzard Rocks. Three cheers for cool, helpful locals! Thanks to Mark for taking the time to show us where to begin our climbing day and for all the beta.
Our fearless leader tops out on another one.
The climbs at Buzzard Rock were more slabby and fun than the ones at Talking Heads wall.
Looking down the Shenandoah Valley from the top of a climb
Listening to stories while waiting for his turn to climb.
Snack time
First peek into our new camper, a pop-up. Less storage which is a GOOD thing – this means we bring less- only what we need. Makes for easier prep and break-down when we get home.
A few rounds of Yahtzee before dinner
Stéphane went on a ridiculous 12.2 mile 2600 feet gain ride on some Virginia GNAR.
Yuck. Just yuck. No thanks. Glad I hung out at camp with Hugo!
Major faux pas: driving home on a Friday afternoon past DC traffic. Never again. Lesson learned. We stopped at Six Bears and A Goat brewery to wait it out. Great beers!
Tasty brews and cool outdoor area
A very nice initial exploration of our Virginia mountains! Excited and ready for more!

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