My Annual Graves Mountain vacation. May 25 to June 3, 2007.

Getting ready for the Graves Mountain Bluegrass Festival. The campsite is ready.

On the Skyline Drive of Shenandoah Nat'l Park. This is at the Old Rag Mt overlook. In the distance, over four miles away is the summit of Old Rag Mt.

Old Rag Summit

These pics are of Camp Hoover, way down below the Skyline Drive. President Hoover's retreat from Washington D.C. --the predecessor to Camp David. It is part of the Shenandoah Nat'l Park now. This is a two mile hike down the mountain.

It is at the headwaters of Rapidan River where Mill Prong creek and Laurel Prong Creek meet to form the Rapidan. Just below the front deck of the Brown House (as opposed to the White House--Hoover did have a sense of humor) is where the two creeks meet forming the Rapidan.

I was lucky enough to get a tour of the Brown House from the Park Rangers. I was there kind of late in the day, after all the other tourists left. They saw me coming down the mountain and asked if I want to have a tour. I said "Sure", and received a solo tour of the place. The Rangers stay in one of the three cabins that remain to this day. Of course, they can drive to the camp via the road to Criglersville, near Graves Mountain. But they gate that off to the public. The Marines built that road from Criglersville to make easy access for the President to the camp.

You can see how big this camp complex was, from the Mess Hall to the Prime Minister's cabin. Nearly all buildings were torn down due to lack of finances for upkeep. All the spots in red indicate an "obliterated" cabin building.

Below are pics of the return trip. It was exciting to see a mama bear on the ground, keeping watch of her three cubs in the tree.

Time to Hike Old Rag Mountain---the most popular hike in the Commonwealth of Va. At the summit, at 3260 feet, there are views for 360 degrees.

I parked at the Berry Hollow parking area, 1700 feet elevation. From here it is about 3 miles to the summit, straight up the mountain to 3260 ft. This hollow was named after the family that occupied it from the 1800's up until the Feds pushed them out of the area when building Shenandoah Nat'l Park in the mid 1930's.

The Old Rag Post Office was located here at the fork of Weakley Hollow Road and Old Rag road. The cabin structure, like all the other family mountain cabins in the area, were burned by the Park Service when procurring land for the park.

Yet another BEAR!! I heard something playing in the creek water as I was on the trail approaching the creek. I initially thought it was a deer or something, since they are so plentiful here. The bear could not hear me approach because of the noise she was making in the creek. I startled her and when she lifted her head, she startled me. She let out a grunt and then I saw two tiny cubs quickly coming down the trees they were in nearby. When they were on the ground, all three ran into the woods further. Thank goodness she ran away from me, versus towards me.

Going further up the trail. Yes, this is part of the trail.

How convenient. Steps.

I don't normally take pictures of flowers, but, these kind of jumped out at me.

I couldn't believe it. From the summit of Old Rag, I looked at my GPS and noted the direction of my Campsite at Graves Mountain. It showed in a South direction 4.18 miles. I looked, and VIOLA!....there is my campsite. I shot a picture through my binoculars--holding the camera lens against the eyepiece.

This is a bigger shot, showing where Graves Mountain Lodge is located, just under Graves MOuntain. This is at a distance of 4.18 miles away, taken from an elevation of 3260 feet.

This is the view West, towards the Skyline Drive. The mountain shown is Robertson Mountain. Before the Park was put here, an old mountain family had a large apple orchard on the very peak of this mountain.

The view goes on for miles, and miles.

This view is of Old Rag Overlook on the Skyline Drive....4.11 miles distant, according to the GPS. Below is the pic taken three days earlier from the Skyline Drive looking towards Old Rag summit from Skyline Drive's Old Rag Overlook.

Go to the 2008 Graves Mt. Festival

Go to the 2009 Graves Mt. Festival

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Updated May 30, 2007


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