We joined our pals, The Holms, for a drive along the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park. The road is called Skyline Drive and it's really beautiful. It's a 105 mile long cruise through trees with scenic views of the valleys on either side of the mountains. Ok, so, just so we get one little thing straight. The Blue Ridge Mountains ARE mountains, but they're baby mountains to those of us from the West. The highest peak is 4051 ft. Mt. St. Helens, our little short volcano in WA is 8,363 ft. It was definitely worth the trip, tho.
This is looking down east into Culpepper, probably Fredericksburg farther out. We pulled into around 15-20 overlooks and each one was beautiful. As you can see, we had great weather. It was cooler up there, which was VERY nice and a welcome change to the humidity down below. We packed lunches and stopped in a picnic area. First, tho, we made a little hike on part of the Appalachian Trail through the forest. We saw trees, flowers, bugs and bear poop. :) My goal for the day was to see a BEAR, not just the remnants of a bear visit.
A little bit down the road, my goal was complete. Traffic was stopped, I got all excited and started thinking there was a bear there, and THERE WAS!!!! It was just a baby bear cub. We took pictures of the little guy and got the heck outta there before Momma came by to protect her little one. He/she was just right off the road. It made me a little nervous because of all the traffic. I hope Momma came soon to shoo her baby into the forest, and away from all the dumb tourists...some of who drive just a little too fast for this road.
Another little hike we did was to Dark Hollow Falls. Did you know Falls can Kill? That's what the sign says. I didn't make this fact up! It was about half a mile downhill to the falls, then half mile UPHILL back to your vehicle. All along the trail was a sweet little stream that gradually got a little bigger and a little bigger until you reach the falls. Then it becomes a cascading waterfall about 70 feet over big rocks. Ok, here comes another comparison for those of you out west. Multnomah Falls is 620 ft. The bad thing about Dark Hollow is that it's easy to get to so it was CROWDED. We stopped and took some pictures and started our short trek back to the vans to continue along the road to the next fun stop.
We made it to Big Meadow/Byrd Visitor Center. We got out to stretch legs, make a potty run and check out the visitor center to see what else there was to see in the park. We decided that it was more of the same (beautiful forest and overlooks) and it was starting to get late, so we made that our last stop. We had to stop and snap a picture of the entire gang for a newer, updated picture with Miss Ava (almost 4 yrs old now) in it. We had to click and run because of all the stinkin' gnats. They were pretty much horrible if you were standing still. The trick was to keep walking. :)
This is one of our whole family pictures we have way back in 2002. Mae is probably around Ava's age then. Look how little all the girls are compared to now! Wowwee!! Time flies when you're raising kids! Sara was about 8, Anisa was around 10 and Syd was around 7.
Anyway, our trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains was fun. We're planning to go back in the fall to see all the colors. I can't wait! :)