Monday, June 7, 2010

June 5-6, Day 7-8: DC to Shenandoah National Park

June 5-6, Day 7-8: DC to Shenandoah National Park and then E-Ville

I'm afraid that if you look at a thing long enough, it loses all of its meaning.

He hits from both sides of the plate. He's amphibious.

Pics: from Shenandoah NP, and THB one last time, hard at work

Up early, the Tadue household is on the move: Mack is off to Philadelphia for a weekend with family and a presentation at Drexel on Monday; Chris is going to work; Rachel is sleeping in, and Bev is making us all omelets for breakfast. We eat outside again, at 8am it is perfect, as is the breakfast.

We chug off to get supplies for lunch, and drive to the north-most entrance to Shenandoah National Park, about 1.5 hours away. We have our annual pass ready to go when the ranger tells us the Park is free this weekend. Hard to understand in this economy the feds giving anything away!

We get our NP passport stamped and head out for what is supposed to be less than a mile each way hike, which turns into a 3.6 mile round trip. It’s worth it; the turn around point is a great spot for a picnic lunch: the setting is a large vista to the west, no thunderstorms in sight, a breeze coming up to the ridge, and it’s only 74 degrees out. Baguette, apples, cheese, candy bar left over from the Priory, tap water, $10.

We check in to the Skyland lodge and while DB settles in I take a hike to the highest point in the park, Stony Man Point. Along the way, I get very close to a deer (see blurry close-up) and not too close to a small black bear (see the dot in the forest). There are a number of azalea and laurel trees in bloom, and a smattering of wild flowers.

Emilie has given us a great tip: book a room on the second floor overlooking the valley to the west ($140/night). And, it has definitely cooled off so we can sit outside with a vast (though hazy) vista and enjoy a drink. Dinner: two salads, rare salmon and pork tenderloin, three drinks, $85.

June 6, Day 8: Shenandoah National Park to E-ville

I'm bored with that line. I never use it anymore. My new line is "In 15 minutes everybody will be famous."

If the world was perfect, it wouldn't be.

Up early to take a hike or two before we head to the airport. Breakfast of ceral with berries, $8.

We see a bear on the way to the first hike, right near the Skyland Lodge. This bear is a lot closer than the one I saw the day before, however this time we are in a car, a fairer match of skills and capabilities (though it is a rental car with 38k miles on it, so maybe not a fair match at all).

Two short hikes, one to a waterfall, the other through a forest of primarily dogwoods in bloom. The hemlock are dying off here as the beetles migrate north faster than the trees can develop a resistance. This is mostly due to the rapid climate change, enabling the beetles to move into areas where the cooler winter climate could keep them at bay. There’s even a prevention, it requires someone touching every hemlock, so ain’t gonna happen.

Finish up, shower (no detail too mundane for THB), lunch at nice spot in Warrenton called Claire’s (omelet, chicken curry salad, fresh scones, $40), and wait in the airport with the Sunday NYT. Flight delayed because of…all together now…thunderstorms in the east.

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