|In mid-August the river here looks like a creek.|
I went in search for a hike that would at least keep my interest. I came across one with a historic cabin from 1910 in Shenandoah National Park. When I learned we could rent the place, I was excited. One night was available during our trip days. I took it.
The cabin is situated on a river that my kids loved jumping from rock to rock exploring what they could find in it. Although August, the water was icy cold and the air was brisk. My husband grabbed a saw from the cabin and went in search of wood that we could have a fire that night.
There is no electricity in the cabin so the fire was useful. We were all surprised at how little light the fire gave off. The fire in movies seemed to light up the entire room. Nonetheless, we were able to play card games and I read my book - an electronic book. Yes, I brought electronics, but I wouldn't have been able to read without it. It was dark. :)
Our dog was not too keen on the house. He paced and could not seem to settle until we were in our beds. (Btw, the mattresses are locked in a cage to keep the mice out.)
The next morning, my husband and I stood outside facing the cabin. I remarked how this house was probably built at the end of the pioneer life, where you can just go out, cut down some trees and build a house. No architects, no permits, no inspections, pretty remarkable.
Final assessment, I'd go again but for a longer stay next time.
Destination: Corbin Cabin - dogs allowed.
Background: The history of the cabin is inside it. It was built by George Corbin. (The info in the cabin said in 1910, Wikipedia says 1909) in what is now known as Shenandoah National Park. When the National Parks took over the land, he and his family were eventually forced out. Some years later the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) renovated it and the National Parks system gave them permission to rent it.
How to Rent: From the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club or PATC (www.patc.org)
We were lucky that they had an open day when we traveled. I understand that it can take months to get a reservation. $45/$30 Thurs-Sat/Sun-Wed, making reservation 3-12 months in advance $90/$60. So, you get a discount if you wait till the last minute - on the other hand reservations fill quickly.
What to bring: Corbin Cabin has pretty much everything you need to live primitively, except the food. Although they have a wood stove and fireplace, we brought our camp cooking gear. We also brought our own sleeping bags. I also highly suggest insect repellant.
How to get there: It's in Shenandoah National Park. We parked at the Corbin Cabin parking and hiked down the steep Corbin Cabin Cutoff Trail. Not too bad going down but it's an impressive hike coming back up. My dog even tried to turn around. There is parking on the outside of the park and you can reach the cabin by Nicolson Hollow Trail, a less intensive hike. We chose inside Shenandoah since we were hiking for two nights and I figure our car will have a better chance of still being there when we got back. :)
Best time to stay: Weekdays, it's quieter. You may get hikers coming up to the cabin thinking it is a historic site and not realizing you can rent the cabin.