Monday, August 17, 2015

Shenandoah in June

I'm getting a little out of order here, but bear with me.  Exactly one week after we returned from Ireland, we made a quick weekend trip down to Shenandoah National Park.  We hit some fantastic weather - warm but not crazy hot, sunny with dramatic fogs and clouds.

This park more or less demands the use of the pano function on the old iPhone camera.  Anytime you get a view, it's usually miles of mountain blue and valley green and one frame doesn't catch nearly enough of it to give the proper scale.

These are a couple of the overlooks we encountered as we drove south.  We intended to camp but left the campground itself to chance.  Matthews Arm looked big and open and not overly inviting, so we decided to head further south, to Lewis Mountain Campground, which is the smallest in the park.

After we snagged a spot, we decided to hike down to Rapidan Camp.  Before this hike, we did not know that Herbert Hoover had a camp in Shenandoah.  Camp actually does not give you a sense of the size and complexity of the thing.  But this was a great spot to visit.

Actually, the biggest excitement happened just a few hundred yards along the trail.  We're zipping a long, and a bear pops up right next to the trail.  I screamed, it screamed.  It ran away, but not very far, and then followed us for about 100 feet.  Kept us hopping!

Rapidan Camp is at the bottom of this particular trail.  Not many of the buildings are left (there were a lot!), but a few cabins still stand, and so do the chimneys of a few others.  

There's a small waterfall along this trail.  We caught it as the sun was filtering through the trees above it.

And it turns out that we would have interesting wildlife encounters on the way down to the Camp and on the way back.  Near the top of the trail, we met a pair of white-tailed deer traveling downwards.  

We caught sight of them and stopped in our tracks, and watched them approach within about 50 feet of us before veering off to the left and looping around us.  

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