Decided to take a break from working on the camper last weekend and get out and enjoy the outdoors. I started skimming at the usual freecampsites.net and found some WMA land up near my bro in Front Royal but unfortunately, no camping but hiking will be a post in the near future! I eventually discovered freecampsites.net Elizabeth Furnace entry.
You can view the whole photo album or read below for details.
It is in George Washington National Forest and owned and maintained by the Forest Service. It is a first-come-first-served area and is in the last month of off-season so nightly fee is $10 versus a low $14 on-season! There are many hiking trails and a good size creek running by the sites.
Turns out it was a yearly trout re-stocking weekend in the creek so the place was packed with fisherman but it did not feel crowded!! I ended up on site 19 and it was at least the distance of 3 regular campsites from the nearest neighbor so it felt very spacious, quiet and relaxing. The bathhouses were still closed but gravity toilets were available and clean.
I setup the truck tent and my dad let me use his old backpacking backpack and Coleman camp stove so I bought backpacking meals to try. There was a nice fire ring surrounded with stone lightly concreted in place. Also had an adjustable grate so I used that for keeping water warm and a little cooking coming up in a bit. My usual sleeping setup was comfortable and it dropped to about 40 overnight only going below a little for a couple around around 6:00am.
Tried my first Mountain House meals but did not enjoy them and they did not agree with me! Chicken Teryaki actually tasted decent but the rest were nasty and none of them ended well! So it’s back to bushcraft food like baked potato on coals and hobo meals.
Made my first batch of bannock! Mixing is messy but the result was awesome. I used the Bushcraft Bartons method of skinning the bark off a stick and wrapping it around to cook over the flames. Ended up making too much so I also made a patty of it.
The next day was all hiking. Walking along the river was peaceful but not very long trails.
Then I followed historical landmarks. Started with a amphitheater, then the old house and extension bridge.
Hiking the Pig Iron trail took me about half way up the mountain. I saw the original furnace and where they mined ore from.
Last thing I did was figure out how to re-string my fishing rod. Since found out I used to heavy a line so will be re-doing that again real soon but at least now I know how. Also had a compact container I’ll use to carry fishing gear instead of a big ole box.
I will definitely go back again!! It is a beautiful place with miles and miles of hiking trails around. The camping sites are secluded and quiet and the river is only a short walk away.