Sunday, August 14, 2016

Shenandoah NP

Every time I come to Shenandoah I have to turn back before finishing, but not this time!! Finally I did the entire Skyline drive.  Shenandoah has been a national park since 1935 and if not for the incredible work of the CCC it wouldn't be as spectacular as it is.    I am happy it has not been over developed...still wild and wonderful. There are 4 main campgrounds... 

and three lodges, I've never stayed in one of the lodges but I'm sure they're nice.....It is located in the state of VA and elevations are in the 3-4,000+ ft range and under,  max at about 4,400 ft....101 miles of the Appalachian Trail is in the park and I kept bumping into it on my scenic drive. 

Annie and I hiked a mile on it just for Giggles...following the white blaze...and to remind me of the many miles I backpacked this trail in 1995 and 1996. 

She had me beat on the up hill but I was leading going back down!! We ran into  a young fellow taking a rest break in one of the overlooks....and remembering  how precious water is on the AT, I offered him some if he needed it so he was a happy camper to get his main bottle filled with clean ready to drink water.   Again wild flowers abound, some white yarrow....(found out the flower I called tiger lily in my Aug 9th post is actually a Turks Cap...kind of a cool name, and its becoming rare to find on the parkway so I consider myself lucky!)

and that means pollinators! MANY of them.  

Not just bees but butterflies....


there is no shortage of distant and scenic views on this Skyline Drive, if you have never visited this park you really should, its a different place in every season...Winter will probably find it closed due to snow tho.

Annie wolfing back a chip on our lunch break...

everybody was having lunch! This Eastern Tiger Swallowtail had that proboscis aimed and ready to fire down in to get at the nectar in each of these milkweed flowerettes.  

one awesome vista after another unfolds on this 100 mile journey

 ...way down in the valley on some stops you could see the Shenandoah River as it snakes it's way through...and maybe even the Potomac if you knew exactly where to look this park is only 80 miles from Washington, DC.  give or take a few.  Can you imagine this exquisite place under the iron hand of  a leader like Donald Trump who thinks every landscape should be Disney-ized?  I saw way too many Trump signs as this whole area is very conservative in their thinking...I hope they realize the opposite side of the coin they are tossing!  For everything you take you also lose something!

I'm tired of the losses! I want to gain more, save more, protect more! DO more, be more, and SAY NO more!!
I saw a total of 4 black bears! All in different locations, the first was just a wee cub barely out of the den didn't see mom and never got a shot of him before he darted back into the tall grasses on the side of the road...but this one came out and stopped to have a look at me, he is rather gaunt and could use some fattening, def before hibernation!  Wish I could of fed him a meal....but we all know that is a BIG no no!

The day kept being partly cloudy but that meant cool air, which was lovely!

I had planned to go up to Big Meadows to camp...but I figured it was the most popular so it would be crowded and it may have been, so was Lewis Mountain where I ended up staying...I got this site near the "comfort station" and it was busy but things settled down after the sun went down and we left right after a quick breakfast of instant oatmeal and toast! With coffee of course!!

Not far away was Big Meadows, and it has the right name!  

the edges were full of wildflowers

There is a really nice gravel road around this meadow perfect for biking...wish I had thought of that but Annie could not stay in the van for that length of time without me so it wouldn't have mattered if I had my bike... we hiked around for a while till she got tired and panting and we turned back...

Once again she didn't want a full frontal photo!! Back in the van she was ready for some AC and a few more miles of travel.  At the Bryd VC there was this big bronze depicting the contribution of the CCC. I got a nice stamp for my passport, and there was a Penny Turning machine!! Y'all know I gotta have one for my collection so I got 2, one has Shenandoah National Park, with a nice Black Bear on it the other was in honor of the CCC! 

quite a dashing figure I'd say!

Annie all ready for the second half of our day...Inside the Wayside section where I found the penny turner was a bunch of fresh bananas so we had one for lunch! SO nice since I didn't bring any fresh foods (to just have spoil in the warm weather).  

A little messy but its homey!  And lunch with a view for sure!

And more small things to discover in each flower patch!

A pretty good echo in Mary's Rock Tunnel

Shenandoah is very well cared for and well staffed, they had lots of Ranger led programs going on and I was impressed with the entire place...

and our last night in SNP  was spent in Matthews Arm CG where deer roamed around freely in and out of campsites and some mosquitoes so I made a fire something I rarely do, to help drive them away and it worked!

Annie chilling by the Dixxeland, she hates bees and flies and she will not come out of the van and relax if anything is buzzing so that's why I
"bilt a far"

We had a cool night which was great and slept very well...had breakfast and left camp pretty early 

to finish our tour up the Skyline Drive. And beyond! Can you find 3 butterflies, one bee, and a bird in this photo?  More of our Appalachian to Allegheny trip to come. 

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.
In real time I am back home Annie's surgery is tomorrow, so I'm ready to have it done and behind us! She had a great adventure and she is ready now to spend a couple weeks convalescing.  I will let y'all know the lab results when I find out! Meanwhile...we just do what we must. 


  1. WOW! but yes the bear looks awful thin and kind of had that impression of the deer too. But everything else is just great. I have got to find a van like yours. I used the boost oxygen today, it didn't seem to work. I'll keep trying.

    1. Hi Jo, sorry the O2 didnt help you, my Mom has respiratory issues, she can't tolerate smoke, or high humidity, or cold night air she is on Oxygen at home and she has some small bottles we carry along when we travel, you may be able to get home Oxygen if you ask your Dr to evaluate you for it, it could improve the quality of your life. I wish my van was newer...but for what I paid for it, $2,500 back in 2011 I sure have gotten my money's worth! Of course I've had some issues with it as you do any used vehicle!

  2. Ooh an adventure with Annie! I have so much to catch up on here. Awesome you saw so many bears, and butterflies, and flowers, and.. Looks like a beautiful park.

    1. Annie was SO happy to go along and she had a blast! I haven't seen this many bears in a while!!

  3. What a great trip! Glad you and Annie had such a special time. I hope everything goes well with her surgery.

    1. Thanks Barb, we had such a special time I've never been able to give Floss or Annie one to one attention cause they have always been together, I want to give Floss the same time!! OR when its cool enough both can go along! Annie is sleeping her surgery went well I did not get a conversation with the vet when I picked her up he was with another Patient...she has 3 meds to be on for a week and she has to be kept quiet and not active for 14 days!

  4. What a great trip! Glad you and Annie had such a special time. I hope everything goes well with her surgery.

  5. I said i wouldn't but just had to comment on that last photo since I might forget -- I did find all the creatures -- wonderful picture. You catch the big stuff and the tiny beauties all so beautifully in your pictures.

    I see in your comment above that Annie came through her surgery well -- I'm glad.


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