Proverbs 16:9

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.

Psalm 4:4
Stand in awe; commune with your own heart, and be still.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Big Meadows, Shenandoah National Park

A foggy morning at our last stop on the Skyline Drive, Big Meadows campground.
Thistle enjoyed watching the abundance of chipmunks outside the window.
The Appalachian Trail passed near this campground too, so there was another opportunity to hike a small portion of it.
And there were many deer wandering through the campground, some with very young fawns.
Just a few miles up the road is Skyland, where horseback riding is available, so Tina and I scheduled a trail ride through the national forest. I rode Tonto.
And Tina rode Buckshot.
Riding through an old apple orchard.
Helmets were required.
We had one guide in front, and two in the rear. Most of the riders they get are inexperienced.
After the ride, we hiked the Limberlost Trail where mountain laurel was in bloom.
This is an easy trail that is ADA accessible.
There are many benches along the loop trail.
Many fungi on the stump and log.
An interesting rock formation.
Another day we hiked to the top of Stony Man Mountain, the highest mountain in Shenandoah national Park. The trail began through a new growth forest with an understory of ferns.
A tiny seed fell into a crack in this rock. As the tree grew it split the rock as seen.
Ancient rocks near the summit of Stony Man Mt.
Views from the top.

And on the drive back to the campground, there was wildlife. This is a bear cub. Mama bear was not in sight, but probably nearby. The next morning as we drove through this area again, I saw both mama and cub cross the road in front of me. Not picture of that, though.
And then there was this scene...
Our last hike was through the meadow. You can see a deer path through the grass.
Little meadow wildflowers.
This buck was hanging out in the woods at the edge of the meadow.
And of course I mentioned there were a lot of chipmunks.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Loft Mountain, Shenandoah National Park

Made it to Loft Mt., the first National Park campground on the Skyline Drive. Again, Tina got the premier spot with a gorgeous sunset view....later.
The Appalachian Trail circles the campground just a few feet below our sites.
We both had nice pull through sites on the rim.
Campground wildlife...

Long shadows just before sunset.
Stages of sunset...

And the afterglow.
We took a hike to Doyles River Falls, upper and lower falls. Notice Tina is appropriately attired with belt pack and plenty of water, two hiking sticks, and good walking shoes.
Hikers along the Appalachian Trail appreciate this spring, but it is still recommended to filter or boil the water.
The trail follows a creek that flows into Doyles River.
Then it crosses the creek.
When we came to the river we thought this was the Upper Falls, so I took a lot of pictures of it.
But we soon learned we weren't there yet. Tina is testing this log as a resting place on the way back up the mountain.
At last we came to the real Upper Doyles River Falls. It was more impressive.
I left Tina sitting down there admiring it as I continued on to check out the Lower Falls.
Click on the video to watch and listen to the upper falls.
On the trail to Lower Falls.
Rushing cascades.
Through the trees I could see the top of the falls.
More cascades viewed from the trail.
It was a pretty rugged descent to the base of the falls.
And the view was not as good due to the amount of foliage. You couldn't see the top from here.
Bottom of Lower Falls.
Then we climbed back up the mountain. Good workout!
Another day we hiked the shorter trail up the mountain for a fantastic view. It's easier to climb up first and go down on the way back.
Views from Frazier Trail.
Another view. You can see some of the Skyline Drive below.