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Shenandoah Adventure!

on August 19, 2013

 

Or… accidental camping trip!

On my way!

 

car

I call it an accidental camping trip because when I signed up for it at the last-minute, I pictured cushy hotel rooms, beautiful views (which I would enjoy sitting on a comfy chair with an adult beverage in my hand) and restaurant meals. I was mistaken! (but not too sadly)

Here’s my “cushy room”:

room

After I got used to the musty smell, I actually kind of loved my room. The wood paneling is made from the original Chestnut trees that used to abound in the Shenandoah forest, but which are now sadly no longer there. (No, an abundance of  wood paneling was not the cause! An Asian chestnut blight was the culprit)

Upon arrival, I headed for my first hike, Mary’s summit:

 

fri hike

If this trail looks a little steep, do not be fooled – it was actually very steep! And this was just the beginning of the trail. But the trail lunch at the top was delicious and the view  was spectacular.

group fri

(Note spectacular view in background)

On Saturday morning a couple of us got up to watch the sunrise at Big Meadow. It was one of many favorite things I did all weekend. It was beautiful, quiet, and another opportunity for deer watching.

sunrise

Saturday morning it was breakfast at the campground where my niece and her husband were camping. (Yes, all my delicious restaurant meals turned in to delicious campground meals. Which would have been fine except for the cooking and cleaning up part!)

A rare event that should be captured on digital image when it is observed…

Pat cooking!

cooking

Our Saturday morning hike was the Milam Gap trail and this was my favorite hike of the weekend. An easy trail through a beautiful forest. The sights, colors and sounds were beautiful.

 

pretty trail

We came to a small clearing that had flowering bushes with hundreds of butterflies flitting around. This picture does not come close to conveying how enchanting it was:

butterfly

Another great thing about this hike: it was the only one our entire group did together – and there was no crying of fighting!

group sat

And now we come to Saturday’s hike. In all fairness to my hiking companions, they did warn me that it was “challenging” and was mostly a rock scramble. But they also told me the panoramic view from the top was awesome. I have no picture of the view from the top because I did not bring my camera, because I needed both hands to cling for dear life to the rocks so I would not tumble to my death off the side of a mountain.

Here is a picture of the trail I found on the internet:

 

At one point I was sure I was going to get one of my limb stuck in the rocks and I would have to cut it off to free myself like Aron Ralston in “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”. But then I remembered that I didn’t have a dull pocketknife with me. And I was with about 7 other people, most of whom had cell phones. So, I kept crawling to the top. The view was pretty nice, but I had a hard time enjoying it because I was too busy worrying that someone was going to fall off the mountain.

A word about wildlife: we saw deer and butterflies too numerous to count, turkey, vultures, hawks… and bears!

Photographic evidence of bears!

It was a truly great weekend. It was beautiful and  relaxing (Well, the rock scramble, not so much. Being without TV or internet, kind of nice…but I am glad to have it back!) Best of all was getting to spend an extended amount of time with family. Even though they duped me into quasi camping, I’m so glad they did!

view

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5 responses to “Shenandoah Adventure!

  1. Ter says:

    We’re so glad you came!! Hopefully we’ll get you on more hikes!!

  2. Keep me on the email update list!

  3. Jo says:

    It was a wonderful weekend with great sites and weather. I’m so glad you joined us, even if the camping part was accidental. 🙂

  4. […] yes also led to a reunion with a high school buddy, an awesome trip to Shenandoah National Park and a couple of weeks ago, a trip to the Walnut Street Theater to see “In the […]

  5. […] For a road trip to Shenandoah National Park I selected Philippa Gregory’s “The White Queen” on audio. I had been seeing a lot […]

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