Saturday, August 18, 2018

Dark Hollow Falls (Skyline Drive)

Until Thursday's excruciating walk in tight shoes, I hadn't gotten in any cardio. Today, Friday, I decided to drive out to Skyline Drive and hit Dark Hollow Falls, a fairly short but somewhat steeply descending trail that leads the day hiker to a modest waterfall. Most people (including yours truly) walk down to the fall and walk back up, but the trail actually goes on a ways for those who are curious to know what lies beyond.

Despite a week of no exercise, I still retained a great deal of conditioning from all the staircase work I'd been doing in Korea. I was the fastest to descend the trail, passing many couples and families, and the fastest back up, passing a few ascending hikers and leaving everyone in the dust. I did take time to rest once, but the pause lasted only thirty breaths before I pushed myself to continue.

When I'd done this same hike with Charles and Hyunjin a few years ago, I'd been completely out of shape and needed to take long breathers to recover from the exertion. This time around, I was much stronger and faster. Staircase training really does work.

Here's a wide shot from early on in the descent:

It took me only 18 minutes to walk/run down to the falls, which you see here:

BigHominid triumphant, but without having started back up the path:

A final shot of the falls before starting back up the trail, which proved not to be nearly as hellish as all that:

Admittedly, one major reason why I was faster than everyone was that everyone else was traveling in pairs or groups; greater numbers can slow you down. While I was descending, I passed a pair of blond German teen guys who were striding up the path as if it were nothing, which it probably was to them. They were the only people moving more robustly than I was. The typical family cluster that I encountered consisted of skinny little ten-year-old boys and girls who ran ahead of their overweight parents, with the adults shouting plaintive "Don't go too far!"s.

I was a sweaty, panting mess by the time I reached the parking lot, but I think the cardio had been worth it. As I was driving north to Front Royal, where Skyline Drive begins, I ran into some clouds that had decided to breeze over and among the ancient mountains; after that, I ran into some intense rain. I mentally thanked the old gods and the new for allowing me to complete my hike without getting rained on.

Around Mile 20, I again saw my old nemesis, the undead-looking tree. But that's the subject of a different blog post.


Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Tain't no falls! Hit's uh glorified wet-weather rapids.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

Kevin Kim said...

We grow 'em small in Virginny.

Charles said...

Ah, yes, I remember that hike. You were indeed sweating buckets. Interestingly enough, HJ mentioned that hike the other day out of the blue.