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The PATC Meadows Cabin is located 3.1 miles northwest of the village of Syria, Virginia
in the eastern foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains, just outside of the Shenandoah National Park

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Its location offers an excellent gateway to hiking in the central region of the park

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Jonathan and Jim arrived at 4:00pm on Friday afternoon under clear, but chilly skies.
Using Jon's utility cart, we began transporting our gea to the cabin, which lies only a 10 minute walk away.

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Our first view of the cabin. We quickly determined
that we’d (happily) been sent the correct key by the PATC.

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Jon prepares to unload...

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...as does Jim

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It takes three trips to complete the transport

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The nearby spring provides drinking water

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A utility building at the south end of the property

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After a short walk to explore the neighborhood, we return to the cabin about dark.
Jon then deploys his battery-operated Christmas lights.

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We aim to keep the first night's meal as simple as possible

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Loving cleanup after dinner

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On Saturday morning, Jon returns to the entry gate to receive Michele and Ryan

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Maggie surveys the landscape near the gate

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Meanwhile, Jim hikes the mile-long perimeter loop that begins at this trailhead near the cabin road

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By 2:00pm, all have arrived and we begin a 2 hour dayhike. About 10 minutes into the hike, we pause at this double blaze near the top of the first hill.

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Jon and Ryan scout ahead

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We turn west on the Upper Dark Hollow Trail. As we gain altitude, we encounter snow on the trail.

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Steve, Michele and Nicholas are not far behind

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At 3:00pm, most of the group returns to the cabin via the long segment of the perimeter loop.
Kathy and Jim, however, continue west for another 20 minutes to the Rapidan fire road at Broyles Gap.

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A cement trail sign marks the intersection

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Pausing for a quick photo before our return trip down the hill

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Our brief hike covers 2.1 miles each way (4.2 miles total) with total climbing elevation gains and losses of about 2,400 feet

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Just before darkness sets in, we begin our cookout. Using two charcoal grills that Jon had brought, we grilled sausages, ham, pork chops, vegetables and steaks.

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After dinner, we all helped with cleanup, then Ryan and Nicholas started a game of Monopoly in which Steve and Michele soon joined. We all later retired about 10:00pm.

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On Sunday morning, we all rose about 8:15am to an outside temperature of 21°F. We quickly began preparing a hearty breakfast.

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Included in the morning feast were fresh scrambled eggs, hash browns, turkey sausage,
cantaloupe, pumpkin bread and other assorted treats

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Michele slices her wonderful pumpkin bread...

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... as Steve prepares fresh hash browns on the wood stove

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During breakfast, Steve and Kathy inspect a vintage map of the Shenandoah National Park

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Jon finishes his eggs as Maggie hopes for handouts

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Having completed our after-breakfast chores, the group poses for a photo

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Michele and Ryan, faced with a 5 hour drive back to Chesapeake, depart soon thereafter

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A family photo for Steve and Nicholas

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Nicholas with Maggie

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A boy and his dog

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The remainder of the group begins the gear transport process

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Loading the equipment for the trip home

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Kathy's new BMW undertakes its first road trip

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The remainder of the group meets in Sperryville at "Burgers-and -Things"

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We enjoy sandwiches and ice cream treats before completing the journey home