Over Christmas Yvonne and I went back to Virginia to visit family. Everyone was there - which meant 4 brothers, 1 sister, 11 nephews and 1 niece! We did the usual family stuff but on Christmas afternoon got out of the house to give Mom a chance to relax. Jim and his family, Charlie, Katya, Yvonne and I hiked up the South Fork of the Mormons River trail in Shenandoah National Park to Skyline Drive. It was warm and the sunshine was bright!
On the 28th Jim's family, John's family, Charlie and I hiked Rip Rap Hollow trail out to Calvary Rocks. We hung out on the rocks enjoying the beautiful view for a while but soon the kids started growing bored and began attempting to climb stuff I was scared of, so I rallied everyone into continuing on down the trail. Everyone hiked for another mile or so then decided to turn around.
Charlie and I persuaded the kids to continue on so Jonathan, Samuel, JC, Matt, Charlie and I then hiked the Rip Rap Hollow loop down into the dark canyon north of the park and back up to the valley. I had first hiked the trail when I was 15 and at the bottom of the hollow there is a big deep swimming hole where I was initiated into the Outdoor Club Polar Bear Club by diving into the pool in January. The kids were all game to join the club when I told them about it and started ripping of their shirts and i had to talk them out of it!
We then beat the kids up the 6 mile climb back to Skyline Drive. Half way up it started raining a cold wet 40 degree rain. None of the kids had jackets of course so Charlie, Matt and I had to give up ours to keep them warm. After a while the rain turned to sleet so we forced them to jog the last 2 miles. We reached the parkway just as it got dark where John and Jim picked us up.
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