Conley Cabin is located in the PATC Vining Tract, just outside of the Shenandoah National Park a short distance from the village of Lydia, VA
This sketch, updated in November 2007, shows another view of the area and its trails
Jonathan, Jim and Tom arrived at the cabin first (about 3:30pm) on Friday afternoon
Conley Cabin features one of the best views in the PATC system. The wonderful Spring weather only enhanced the spectacular scenery.
The air is unusually clear...
...with trees and shrubs in bloom everywhere
Tom captures a photo of the sunlit valleys
The Fox family, who'd been staying at nearby Mutton Top Cabin for the past several days stopped by for a visit shortly after Michele and Ryan arrived. Mom is seen here enjoying the rope swing installed sometime since our last trip to the cabin in 2007.
The Fox kids take instantly to Maggie and Spirit
Ryan relaxes on the front porch as Mallory spends time with her new friends
In July of 2011, Conley Cabin was outfitted with a wonderful new privy
The new privy features the nearly odorless, open air, "moldering" technology that uses wood chips to aid with decomposition
Before dinner Friday night, we undertake a beanbag tournament
Maggie and Spirit watch the action
Tom seems to be enjoying his first PATC cabin trip
Ryan and Michele give the rope swing a whirl
Mom (of course) gets first dibs...
Following a great dinner of grilled burgers with lots of side dishes, we retired fairly early. All bunked in the cabin except for Jim who slept on the porch during a very windy night.
Following breakfast cleanup, we relax on the porch for a bit
Jonathan and Maggie soak up the sun before getting underway
Shortly after 11:00am, we began a day hike that took us to the neighboring Morris, Mutton Top and Johnson cabins. Jon, Spirit and Maggie later spent time at Andy's Overlook while the others continued hiking up the Cliff Trail.
Maggie takes a cool drink from the spring that empies into an old bathtub near Morris Cabin
Michele approaches the Morris Cabin tool shed
A view of Morris (which was occupied) from below
Jon and dogs inspect Waymond's barn near Morris Cabin
We pause at the old stone chimney of the Sexton Cabin...
...to photograph a large blacksnake basking in the morning sun
We approach Mutton Top Cabin about 11:40am. The Fox family had already vacated, so we decide to explore the cabin.
The view east. The Mutton Top Cabin was built in part from logs taken from the old Sexton Cabin, which was torn down because of dispute between the PATC and the US Forest Service.
Jonathan and Michele enjoy the view south
We all pause for a few minutes to soak in the day
Mutton Top's front yard and spectaular view into the distant valleys
The interior of Mutton Top includes a beatutiful stone floor and spacious living quarters
Most of the bunks are located in the loft
The tidy kitchen includes lots of amenities
Ryan and Spirit relax on the barbeque deck
A view of that deck's stone grill
After departing Mutton Top, we continued west on the CCC road to Johnson Cabin, arriving at 12:15pm. A group of three folks from Ohio were occupying this very small outpost.
After chatting briefly with the Ohioians, we hiked northwest up the Cliif Trail which grew increasingly rocky as we ascended. Tom and Jim pressed on after the others returned to Andy's Overlook.
Tom and Jim pause for photos near this impressive rock formation (dubbed by Jim as "Summit Rock") located near the top of the mountain
Tom and Jim then descended from Summit Rock via the south fork of the Perimeter Trail to meet the rest of the party at Andy's Overlook
We all lingered over a long lunch at the overlook
Jim joins the photo shortly before we departed
The great view from our lunch spot
We returned to the trail at 2:15pm, then hiked back down the mountain to Conley Cabin
We arrived Conley about 2:35pm. The yellow line on this map shows the route taken during the hike.
The entire hike covered a bit over three miles with elevation gains and losses of about 2,450 feet
About 3:30pm, we decided that it was time for a bit of Amish popcorn
We sampled batches of both Ladyfinger and Midnight Blue popcorn. Through a group vote, we determined that Midnight Blue was favored by a margin of 3 to 2.
As night falls, we prepare to grill Jonathan's marinated salmon
This photo (actually taken by another group) captures the sprit of Conley's wonderful outdoor grill
On Sunday morning, Michele begins the breakfast process
Spirit warms herself in the morning sun...
...as Maggie continues to explore the cabin's grounds
At 10:30am, we pose for our traditional group photo
Michele and Ryan depart soon thereafter, while Jonathan, Jim and Tom finish a few more chores, then finally lock the door at noon