Sweaty Hoppin' & Calf Poppin' Down the Dark Hollow

Day 21; Shenandoah National Park & Washington DC; 23rd July
Survived the skunk!
Success

Today we were heading off to Shenandoah National Park.
Now 21 days into the tour and today was the first time I got a double seat to myself!
No offence to Emily, she was a great bus companion, but once you have a double seat I understand why everyone was so unwilling to share again!
I took full advantage of this space and spread right out! 
Slept like a baby in all the positions.

We had a lunch stop once we got into the park, which consisted of a cold bolognese sandwich because we'd used up all the lunch meats. 
It was actually real good. 

The hike we were going to do at Shenandoah was the 
"Dark Hollow Falls Trail"
Sounds mystical yet dangerous and as if something bad was going to happen there. 
We were told to be careful of our footing because its very rocky & lots of steps downhill.




Oops
Last step down and *snap* go over on my ankle. 
I'm quite experienced with twists and sprained ankles so could immediately tell that it wasn't a serious injury. 
I couldn't walk on it though so it was a hop over to the river to soak my ankle to hopefully stop any swelling.
It was freezing!
Em & Adrian stayed behind to wait with me while everyone else carried on the hike. 
My foot looked kinda blue so I thought I should probs take it out the river before my whole foot snaps off. 

I was actually surprised & proud I'd not injured myself before now. 
I'm quite the cluts so getting hurt on holidays is the norm.
The amount of injuries on school trips and sports tours is unreal!

As I mentioned we hiked downhill. 
So I had to hop uphill. 
It was eventful! 

I was sweating all over Emily to my right and Adrian was pulling me up the steps on my left.
It was a hot and slow process. 
At one point I thought "F it" so started hopping on leg up each step at impressive speed.
My right calf was aflame and had doubled in size! 
I was dripping with sweat.
It got us up quite quickly but boy was I knackered.
The rest of the group had caught up with us so I let him go ahead as I carried on hopping up. 
So many steps
"Think these are the last ones"
Round the corner, more steps
"Noooooo"

We waited in a car park while Adrian went to find Kayla with the bus.
Sarah kindly let me borrow a crutch of hers and it was bizarre!
Ive never used that kind of crutch so it hurt more using that than just hopping. 

On the road again, and good job I had my own seat eh, needed the space to spread out my leg and keep it raised.

We were on route to DC baby! 
When we booked Washington DC wasn't one of the places that screamed out to me and was never really fussed about visiting. 
Since doing more research I got more and more interested so at this point I was really looking forward to arriving / cursing my ankle because I knew there would be a lot of walking involved in DC! 

We arrived to our camp site and tents were up! 
We had a night tour of DC planned so needed a quick dinner so had a pizza party :) 
Ready for the tour we hopped (literally) on Griffin and had another grand old sing along on route to the capital! 

DC is gorgeous!
It is one of my favourite cities from the trip.
At night everything is lit up beautifully.
We parked up and I attempted to crutch my way with everyone.
Our first stop was at the Washington Monument.
It was so pretty all lit up and is so central that you can look in all directions and see all the other main memorials and monuments. 
We had an hour to explore & had to meet up at Lincoln's Memorial later on. 

The Washington Monument

A group of us headed in the direction of The White House.
There's The White House, and then there's a building to the left of it that's not The White House.
I thought we were outside the other building.
Everyone else stopped and started taking pictures, and me thinking im being super clever pipes up
"Do they think they're taking pictures of The White House?" 
".... they are"
"Oh"

Didn't see Obama so we left. 
We walked (crutched / limped / bitched about the crutch) towards the WWII Memorial Pool,
All the memorials are so beautiful and don't take away from what they represent. 
I don't know whether its just me but I always think of Americans doing everything OTT and assumed any memorials would be the same which may distract from what they stand for but they were spot on.


WWII Memorial with Lincoln Memorial in the background
I gave up on my crutch here and Colin looked after it for me while I just hopped and limped on.
I couldn't last more than an afternoon on them they hurt so much. No idea how Sarah coped for so long using them!! 
We walked down the Reflecting Pool and ended up at the Lincoln Memorial.
Why so many stairs eh guys??!! 
Hopping up to the top, I got a look at Abe.
He's a lot bigger than I thought he'd be! 
From there we got an incredible view back of the reflecting pool, Washington Monument and the Capitol building in the background.


Abe the Babe

The Reflecting Pool & Washington Monument
We met up with everyone and continued onto more memorials.
First the Korean Memorial;
At night this is so eerie! 
I was just waiting for one of the statues to jump at me.
Next we crossed over to the Martin Luther King Memorial.
It looked really new and had loads of his famous quotes along a wall behind the massive statue of him.
From here you could see the Jefferson Memorial across the Tidal Basin.

MLK Memorial 
Tidal Basin & Jefferson Memorial
We headed back to the bus and by now my ankle was hurting loads so was dreading the thought of walking on it all day tomorrow on our free day to explore DC because there was so much I wanted to see! 

Back to camp and it was early nights all round ready for our big day of sight seeing. 
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