Below: Signs of the coming summer:
Below: A rest near Ivy Creek:
|The Emmett Lee Dickinson Museum||
As spring slips into summer, we had some absolutely beautiful weather, so we drove to nearby Skyline Drive and hiked a portion of the Appalachian Trail. We had some beautiful views -- both at various overlooks and at an idyllic spot by the head waters of Ivy Creak -- and we saw some of the season's "furthers flowers" amid the many signs of summer.
Below: Some of spring's "furthest flowers":
Below: Signs of the coming summer:
Below: A rest near Ivy Creek:
My wife and I hiked a bit along the Appalachian Trail yesterday in Shenandoah National Park. It was a beautiful day, and was say many beautiful sights. Below: A few candid pics of the flowers, "Candid -- in May."
Below: A few other miscellaneous shots, including some tiny friends, the Doyles River Falls, and an overlook shot looking east toward Ivy Creek.
Hmm. It turns out that today is National Hiking Day -- and that is exactly what I did. My wife and I hiked a portion of the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park.
Okay, I admit -- we did not "take a hike" to participate in National Hiking Day. Instead, we went to SNP for some star gazing.
A few weeks ago, I looked at the calendar and saw that a New Moon was occurring on November 15th. At that time, I booked a room at the park's Skyland Resort. Then, as we approached the date, some predicted bad weather meant cloudy skies and rain for Sunday night. Therefore, I moved our check-in date by one night. Much better weather was forecasted for the 16th, and I figured a sliver of moon wouldn't spoil our star gazing all that much.
Therefore, we drove to the park yesterday, hiked a WONDERFUL trail at Bearfence Mountain, watched the sunset at Timber Hollow Overlook, and then spent the early hours of the night in awe of a spectacular sky teeming with bight planets and stars.
Today, before we headed home, we walked a portion of the AT and then climbed to another spectacular summit with an almost 360-degree panoramic view of the park. Along the way, we were hit with a brief but furious snow flurry, the first snowfall (albeit very minimal) of the season.
NOTE: Slide shows like those below do not always work on Androids. Therefore, the pics are best viewed on a laptop, an iPhone, or an iPad.
Below: A view from a summit just to the south of Bearfence Mountain from our hike today.
Below: As we hiked today, the sky turned somewhat purple and winds whipped up as we experienced a brief but furious snow flurry -- the first of the season.
The weather was beautiful today, so we drove from Charlottesville to Front Royal, Virginia, to the northern entrance of Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park. There we completed two small hikes. The first was the Fox Hollow trail just across from the Dickey Ridge Visitors' Center. The second was a walk down an old fire road just beyond Mile Post 9 to see the Lands Run Falls.
Below: A few pics around Lands Run Falls.
Below: Between the two hikes we stopped along Skyline Drive to admire the beautiful fall colors.
Below: In Fox Hollow, we came across a small family graveyard, about a half mile into the forest. The tombstone below is for Gertrue Fox, a two-year-old who died in 1904.
Yesterday was beautiful, so we drove up into Shenandoah National Park. We never tire of the views. We'll probably go back in a couple of weeks to see the change in the foliage. The colors are just now beginning to turn.
After a picnic lunch on an overlook, we took a short hike down an old mountain road to a confluence of streams. The road descended gently and paralleled a small brook on the right and a larger stream on the left. We passed the site of an old Episcopal mission. There were no real remains of the place except some evidence of a stone wall that used to line the path.
At the bottom of the trail we crossed a bridge where the brook and stream joined a third stream. A tree there had a small heart shape in its trunk, and it reminded me of Emily Dickinson's poem, "Have you got a Brook in your little heart" (below on the left). Of course, in this case, the little brook had the humble heart (below on the right).
We spent the morning and afternoon yesterday in a meadow in Shenandoah National Park, Big Meadows to be exact (at Milepost 51 on Skyline Drive). At one point we found ourselves knee deep in a sea of white as a delicate white flower -- known as "White Snakeroot," believe or not -- stretched as far as the eye could see.
Below right: The spider species Argiope aurantia is commonly known as the yellow garden spider, black and yellow garden spider, golden garden spider, writing spider, banana spider, zigzag spider, hay spider, corn spider, Steeler spider, or McKinley spider.
Below left: Bumble bees and other bees were crawling all over the flowers and thistles, and like Emily Dickinson said of the bumble bee, "Bees are Black, with Gilt Surcingles."
Surcingles? What in the world is a "surcingle"? I have to admit -- I had to look that one up -- and when I did, I concluded that Dickinson wasn't being purposefully obscure. Instead, I realized that the average person in the 19th century would have known the meaning of "surcingle."
SURCINGLE: a wide strap that runs over the back and under the belly of a horse, used to keep a blanket or other equipment in place.
From the National Park Service's site on Shenandoah (HERE): "In the 1930s, Shenandoah National Park was pieced together from over 3,000 individual tracts of land, purchased or condemned by the Commonwealth of Virginia and presented to the Federal Government. In the process, at least 500 families -described as 'almost completely cut off from the current of American life' were displaced in what was considered by some to be an humanitarian act."
Other sites describe the relocation of displaced families in much more poignant terms:
From a story on Richmond.com: Harvey Shifflet's family "was among the hundreds of families forced from their homes in the 1930s to make way for Shenandoah National Park as state authorities used eminent domain to acquire private property that would be turned over to the federal government for the park. After leaving Rockingham in 1933, the Shiffletts settled in the foothills of Albemarle County, but Harvey Shifflett’s heart never relocated.
Decades later, still bitter at the way his family had been treated and still longing for his mountain home, he would have his children drive him to the park on weekend mornings where he would sit for hours on one of the stone walls along Skyline Drive — not far from his old home place. The old man spent the time whittling, watching the tourists drive by and soaking in the beauty that once was his."
The complete article is HERE.
Testament to the stories of displaced families, there are family cemeteries found throughout the park. Below: We came across the Dean family cemetery nestled in the forest near Milestone 63. The land once belonged to James Dean (no, not that James Dean), who lived from 1797 until 1862.
Below: The shot of the singular tree reminded me of Saul Steinberg's "The Tree" (below right) -- it just needed an official stamp!
Below: Miscellaneous pics from the park.
We had such beautiful weather today -- after what feels like two months of rainy and/or hot and humid days (with a thirty-plus stretch of days with over 90-degree temperatures) -- so we thought we'd escape to the mountains. We drove down a stretch of Shenandoah National Park's Skyline Drive, ate lunch on an overlook, and completed two easy-to-moderate hikes, one with a spectacular view and one through a quiet, shady forest. It felt so nice to escape the ugliness and carnage that is Trump's America!
One of our walks took us through a forest where years ago a number of magnificent hemlock trees succumbed to a terrible blight. Evidence of the stately trees is still apparent (below right).
Below left: Entrance to the meadow on Bear Den Mountain -- through a "kissing gate."
A poetry log for the Emmett Lee Dickinson Museum (above the coin-op Laundromat on Dickinson Boulevard in historic Washerst, Pennsylvania).