Sep 1, 2012

Shenandoah National Park

I'm not sure why, maybe I was falling in love with it all over again but I loaded a few more pictures of the Chariot then normal....
This post should have preceded the Gettysburg address but I got carried away with that historic now I'm backtracking a bit.

 Shenandoah National Park is found in Virginia just a stones through away from Washington DC. Since I vowed to avoid all major cities along the east coast as possible I skipped DC and Baltimore and opted for a more majestic and enlightening experience...nature!

With 200000 acres of land it's an enormous and peaceful place even with the steady amount of tourists it attracts. There are four major campsites within the park (and loads of back country) and the entire park is connected with the "Skyline" highway that is about 100 miles long and gracefully takes you through some of the most breathtaking views that any road, anywhere have to offer. The beauty of a National Park is that all speed limits are 35mph which means if my scooter was working I'd have been driving like a mad man with a smile as big as the it was my scooter was not working but the smile was still there.
Yum!! Fried Porkchops and mixed veg!!

I stayed at three out of four sites, starting from the south to the north. Loft Mountain (best amazing campground), Big Meadow (most commercial as it is the hub that connects with the largest visitors center in the park) and Mathews Ar (nothing to rave about but a nice quiet place).

 Big Meadow was a crazy campsite...I managed to get the most coveted spot that sits right along the Appalachian Trail and I was stoked...until  pulled up and thought..what the hell? Someone designed a campsite that has the fire pit and picnic table on the OUTSIDE and your vehicle on the inside. Meaning that when you are at the can't see the views and when you are sitting at the firepit in the evening...every car that drives down the lane blasts you right in your optical nerve. So two things...bollocks to the park designers and bollocks to everyone who has those damn blue tinted super lights!! I am still seeing stars!!
Right in my site...not more than 10 feet away. He was cool with it and so was I..but my neighbours kids freaked out and scared him away all too soon

Blueberry pancakes and bacon!!
The wildlife was great! I saw two black bears (I am told this is uncommon in such a large park) and had a visit within my site of a buck and a few other deer.

 This is where a squirrel entered my van and I won't give it away...but it was with me for a very long time afterwards...I just couldn't get rid of him/her. Kept hearing the damn thing in the middle of the night nibbling on things inside the separation of my camper top and van (there is a lot of space in there).
Every time I see a full moon I think of my friend ES back home who suggested we drop each other a line on these occassions. I wish  had fulltime connection as I would love to...but as it is we catch up when we can. Big hugs ES, hope you are smiling!
I hiked a few trails while there and was hoping to see some amazing waterfalls and such. Turns out it's been dry as a bone and they were nice but not mind blowing.

One hike I would like to have done but wouldn't commit to as a solo hiker was Old Rag Mountain which is rated one of the greatest hikes in the National Parks system.
Mama Zuma's revenge potatoe chips...scantily clad women promoting spicy chips is all good with me....yes I  have been single and on the road for a looong time :)

This guy is an ex-aircraft mechanic and together with his friend they built this out of aircraft aluminum. It was a sweet set up and light as hell. The van is a E150 and he gets 25mpg.

Since hanging in Detroit I have stopped using hotdog are my gourmet lunch dogs with spicy mustard to top them off!

I met some great people from Virginia but didn't meet anyone from outside the state. That surprised me as usually this is the kind of place you can meet some fellow travellers. As it was though the people I met were fabulous and it's always nice to meet fabulous people.
This artwork went on for about a .5k. It was awesome to look at at as I took my time checking out the drawings I realized that the entire clan of kids that made them was hiding in the woods watching me!

A rather large nest

Since the park is reclaimed land there is lot's of history left over from the original (not native) settlers. History here shows that up to 9000 yrs ago people where living in the blue ridge mountains. This grave site just appears as you round a corner while hiking the Appalachian.

Now that is a serious family line!!

What causes a tree to do this...I have no idea but it was cool!

One of the interesting things about a national park is that it's made so you forget how much work went into it so that it can look natural. The CCC made most of the parks in America and they were indeed a monumental task. If it was undertaken today environmentalists would shit their pants and the project would be called off. Good thing back then people were broke and needed work.

Real views require a stellar camera...which I do not have. far as your eyes can see...there is beauty

A money lover

 For some reason I am missing some of my pictures...not sure where they are but just a quick little piece here. One of the most interesting parts of the visit is Dickys Ridge Visitor center where again you are faced with the constant reality of American segregation and racism.The park was the first park in America to allow coloured people in but again sent them off to a shitty corner and provided no services. The displays that they laid out were great...some heart wrenching and others elevating. In the end of course the civil rights movement abolished the "equal but separate" concept that the racist Woodrow Wilson put into effect.

 After 6 nights in the park it was definitely time to move on. I was smiling all the way, the weather was great and I had miles to turn key and go was the order of the day!! What's next...well Gettysburg

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you!