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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 7/25/2005 4:04:10 AM EDT
We've been living in Alexandria since we moved here in 2003. I grew up backpacking in the Sierra Nevada and spent some time in the Cascades as well. I don't know the E. Coast much at all.

I'm good with a load on my back, getting dropped off on one side of a roadless/wilderness area and picked up on the other. My wife...now likes camping out and sleeping in a tent, but she's not there yet (not unwilling, just hasn't) backpacked. So I'm thinking car camping trip #2, somewhere locally, for a weekend.

Criteria: not too far, scenic, can have campfire and gun ;) - also do not want to sleep next to the RV with generator, satellite TV, and poodles. Ideally we'd like to be alone, or close to it.

I do not have a 4x4 vehicle so my Swedish sedan's gotta be able to make it. (I think when I get a 4x4 it'll be a Pinzgauer...)

Suggestions? Thanks in advance for your comments.
Link Posted: 7/25/2005 4:33:16 AM EDT
Been a while, but GW has some great camp spots and if Im not mistaken, you can camp pretty much anywhere. I'll dig up my book and see if I can find some of the ones I used to go to.
Link Posted: 7/25/2005 6:38:13 AM EDT
What is your definition of "not to far"? Elkhorn Lake down near Hite Hollow, south of Harrisonburg. You can camp in one of the many sudo campsites made by the yearly deer hunters. Also you can go over to the lake and do some fishing. Bass and catfish. That is the place I have been known to go for my get away.
Link Posted: 7/25/2005 8:36:49 AM EDT

Originally Posted By grywlf52:
What is your definition of "not to far"? Elkhorn Lake down near Hite Hollow, south of Harrisonburg. You can camp in one of the many sudo campsites made by the yearly deer hunters. Also you can go over to the lake and do some fishing. Bass and catfish. That is the place I have been known to go for my get away.



In my case 'not too far' means that I don't use up most of a day getting there from NoVA.
Link Posted: 7/25/2005 8:58:41 AM EDT

Originally Posted By OODA_Loop:

Originally Posted By grywlf52:
What is your definition of "not to far"? Elkhorn Lake down near Hite Hollow, south of Harrisonburg. You can camp in one of the many sudo campsites made by the yearly deer hunters. Also you can go over to the lake and do some fishing. Bass and catfish. That is the place I have been known to go for my get away.



In my case 'not too far' means that I don't use up most of a day getting there from NoVA.



It's about a 2 1/2 hour drive from NoVA to Elkhorn. I don't know of any other place closer. Someone will chime in and help. Check out Thompson Wildlife Area if you just want a day trip and hiking. It's just out 66, an hour away.
Link Posted: 7/25/2005 9:09:36 AM EDT
Elkhorn sounds perfect! I'll investigate - thanks a lot guys!
Link Posted: 7/25/2005 11:51:35 AM EDT
Shenandoah National Park. From Alexandria, drive 66 west to Front Royal and you're at the northern entrance to the park. $10 buys you a several day visit pass or spend $30 and get an annual pass to that park only. Or pay $50 and get an annual pass to all national parks in the US. There are several big campgrounds within the park some offering more peace and quiet than others. But you can camp almost anywhere in the park with a camping permit which is free for the asking at the entrance station or visitors centers. Skyline drive is a 100 mile round that was built on ridgetops all the way to Route 64. There are about 80 pullovers where you can see forever to the east and west. The park has countless trails where you can park your car, hike in, and camp. I highly recommend it. Shenandoah is just a part of the much larger George Washington and Jerfferson Nat'l Forests covering much of the western part of the state. Since you have internet access, check out the web sites of Shenandoah and GW & Jefferson Nat'l Forests. It's some of the wildest, most moutainous land in the East. Not supposed to carry weapons in the forest except during open hunting season. But I'd pack a handgun anyway and just not advertise it.
Link Posted: 7/25/2005 12:20:15 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SLR95:
Snip Not supposed to carry weapons in the forest except during open hunting season. But I'd pack a handgun anyway and just not advertise it.



List your reference to this, please. Considering that most of the WMA's have shooting ranges in them and that your CCW is valid in the National Forest as well, I would like to see where I can''t carry a firearm. TIA
Link Posted: 7/25/2005 2:09:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/25/2005 2:10:06 PM EDT by METT-T]
The Richard Thompson WMA is pretty good-I actually grew up less than 2 miles from it. Sky Meadows, at The Plains, I believe, is another good day hike with beautiful views.

In the GW, I'd recommend Elizabeth's Furnace in Fort Valley, between Front Royal and Strasburg. Some great hiking, good prepared spots and lots of great spots on either side of an easily accessible creek. Actually, looking back at your criteria I think this area would probably suit you best.

Andy Guest State Park is also out near Front Royal. It's a pretty new park, opened only a couple of years ago, and the campsites are great. The park has several miles of frontage on the Shenandoah-not so much a park for hiking but great if you want to tube or canoe the river and then camp out.

If you're willing to go out a little further, there're several good places out past Sperryville. Check out the areas around Old Rag Mountain and Mary's Rock. These are in the Shenandoah so you'd have to get a back-country permit, tho.
Link Posted: 7/26/2005 12:14:17 PM EDT
Grywlf52

Here is an extract from the GW & Jefferson Nat'l Forest web page. More information can be read by going to this section: http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj/recreation/hunting/ In the hunting section it says that it is unlawful to "have in your possession a gun or bow which is not unloaded and cased or desmantled in the National Forest except during designated hunting seasson or possess or transport a loaded gun in or on any vehicle at any time on National Forest lands". I could't find any reference on the site for excpeptions for concealed carry permit holders. THAT DOES NOT MEAN SUCH HOLDERS ARE NOT EXEMPT. It only means that the Forest Service is silent on the issue on the website. Maybe they are being deliberately vague on the subject. I do remember reading not long ago that Shenandoah National Park now allows concealed carry for valid permit holders. I'm sure the same policy would have to apply in the National Forsest as well. In any case, I sent an email to the Forest Service for an explanation of current policy and regulation. I'll post the answer here.

Firearms may be discharged for target practice only at established shooting ranges.
Firearms may be discharged in the general Forest area for the purpose of hunting during open season.
Link Posted: 7/26/2005 12:29:17 PM EDT
Weird, I spent a lot of time shooting in the Stanislaus National Forest as a kid, when did this change?

As to the status of whether I'll carry or not, well, not on a public website.
Link Posted: 7/26/2005 2:02:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SLR95:
Grywlf52

<SNIP> In any case, I sent an email to the Forest Service for an explanation of current policy and regulation. I'll post the answer here.

Firearms may be discharged for target practice only at established shooting ranges.
Firearms may be discharged in the general Forest area for the purpose of hunting during open season.



Thanks. I have always CCW'ed even when fishing.
Link Posted: 7/28/2005 3:51:48 PM EDT
I just got a reply from a Patrol Captain, Law Enforcement & Investigations, George Washington & Jefferson National Forests, Roanoke VA and Grywlf52 is correct. The captain wrote: "Anyone with a Virginia concealed weapons permit can carry a concealed
handgun on national forest in Virginia at any time". I think they should be more explicit on the subject on their website. VA is a ccw state and we are surrounded by ccw states. I, too, work for the Federal Gov't, and I know first-hand how anal we can be about regulations.

Link Posted: 8/1/2005 3:57:05 AM EDT
Okay, so we ended up driving out on 66 and cutting over to 33, across the W VA state line to Franklin, then south to Bath county. There's a shooting range just over the state line in W VA on 33.

Went down to Lake Moomaw, which was...screaming kids, screaming parents, and fat people; however got to explore the area which was what I wanted to do; get a sense of where to go. Definitely out there is where I want to be. More next weekend. (Moomaw was just a target where I knew there were campgrounds).

Stove leaked, new tent worked fine in the rain ;) - stove is an old (bought in 1988; my dad still uses his Optimus from 1962!) MSR with leaky seals, so I have to repair it. Bought green wood that was hard to start, ended up shaving wood to get coals going. Proper planning prevents...

Anyway, a good shakedown, my wife wants to go somewhere again soon.

Link Posted: 8/1/2005 4:25:59 AM EDT
Hey it is great out west in the state. I like seeing these reports. Now go get a new stove so as not to burn the tent.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 9:02:36 AM EDT
I'll continue with trip reports...and replace the seals on my stove. It's an MSR whisperlight international, and this is the first time it has ever leaked...since 1988!
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