BACKPACKING CABINS HIKING NATIONAL PARKS Shenandoah VIRGINIA

Corbin Cabin | Part One

January 28, 2013

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^^That’s just smoke, right????^^

Some tips for what not to do before attempting a backpacking trip to Corbin Cabin: 1. do not pack the morning of 2. do not mess with bear mace. Naturally, we did both of these things because 1. we got lazy and 2. we had a Costco-sized can of bear mace that we bought for our trip to Alaska hidden in our camping stuff. When scrounging up our gear, the bear mace accidentally released. Another tip: if you ever use bear mace in a real life situation, make sure you are not downwind because the tiniest of sprays almost put me in cardiac arrest.

Also, don’t read ghost stories about said cabin prior to visiting.

These photos are from our weekend backpacking trip to Corbin cabin at the end of last year — before the craziness of moving and traveling and holidays. Corbin cabin is one of the few remaining cabins left from when the government took over the lands around Shenandoah Valley (thus forcing the families that lived there to relocate) to create the Shenandoah National Park. The cabin was salvaged by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club who maintains and rents out the cabin today.

We didn’t really know what awaited us at the cabin. We knew there was no running water or electricity, so we packed the essentials: our ultralight gear, wine and cheese. Even with our late start, we arrived with enough daylight to sit on the porch and enjoy an individual serving of boxed wine and watch a black bear cub chase his mom across the stream about 100m from our front porch. When the sun set, we spent the rest of the evening by the fire before retiring to bed up in the loft. We were just a few miles downhill from the trail head, but we might as well have been a million miles away.

At night, with the through-hikers gone, we felt truly alone — the darkness becoming that much darker, the curious noises in the night became loud and ominous. With the fireplace as our main source of light (we only brought our headlamps), I ironically started to long for human contact — and ally in the darkness. I became paranoid that the axe Sly left outside when chopping wood would be found by some derelict hikers and used on us Lizzy Borden style in the middle of the night. Every twig snapping, dog (at least I’m hoping they were just dogs) howling, gravel crunching, acorns dropping, mice scurrying made my overactive imagination jump to conclusions that can only be reached on starless nights in remote cabins in the middle of the woods.

The one thing however that my mind couldn’t quite rationalize was the gentle tugging I felt at the foot of my sleeping bag sometime during the middle of the night. That was just the wind, right?

RIGHT?

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2 Comments

  • Reply funnelcloud rachel January 28, 2013 at 6:54 am

    Your photography is just stunning, Veronika! I’m going to add this place to our To Visit list – though I think I’ll wait til the weather’s warmer and we’ll be sure to pack our headlamps! (And wine and cheese!)

    • Reply veronika January 29, 2013 at 2:32 am

      Thank you! Definitely bring head lamps and candles or even a lantern if you aren’t concerned with packing too light. Or I guess even an empty milk jug for putting your headlamp in could have worked now that I think about it…hmmm…next time.

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