On a mild March morning, my friend and I left for Shenandoah National Park. Our mission: To tackle Hawksbill, the highest summit in the park. We drove out to milepost 45.6, Hawksbill Gap. Now, my friend was in really crappy shape for this hike, and he struggled a little bit up the steep parts about half way up. He has since gotten his act together, and he even climbed Mt. Washington on Memorial Day weekend.
When we got there, the parking area was well marked. Hawksbill Gap provides a loop hike, so we took the short, steep route to the summit. Huffing and puffing, we stormed up the first part of the hike, unaware that saliva was gathering in our mouths, and we needed a break. I chose to drink water, my friend chose beer as his hiking refreshment (another reason he struggled a little bit). While the hike up was quite steep, it was soon over and we made it to the shelter near the top. There were 4 other people in the area. My friend and I hiked the last 50 yards to the summit and took some photos. There was clear blue skies and excellent views. We hiked back down to the shelter area, and took the longer way back down. It was opposite the 50 yard summit trail, about 2 miles back to Hawksbill Gap. The trail down was not too steep. It was partly on the Appalachian trail. Unlike the steep summit trail, it was far more rocky, and was more covered in snow. We got back to the car, and drove off to do some other hikes off Skyline Drive, including Mount Marshall. Overall, a great day of hiking.