Monday, June 27, 2011

Shenadoah National Park

Sunday the mister and I took a day for ourselves and headed west to the mountains. Emma was with a girlfriend at home and Ellie got to have some one on one time with grandma. We dropped her off on our way. She was thrilled to pieces about it too. There was partaking in sundaes, shopping, movie watching and hanging out and chatting about life. A perfect day for Grandma and for Ellie. We also had a perfect day.

We went to the Shenandoah National Park which is one of my favorite places in the world. Everytime I am there, I see or experience something new. It's never a disappointment. The weather was gorgeous. A warm 72 degrees and the birds were singing and calling from everywhere.

We decided to take a hike on a trail that was posted as relatively easy. Just 2 miles roundtrip. One mile up to the mountain top and one mile down. Oi vhey, I am so out of shape. The mile up was tough and I was sweating and breathing heavy and Steve would look back and say "are you OK?" which made it worse because it was no big deal to him... but I made it! All the way to the top and I didn't have a heart attack or stop to rest too much.

Up up up
it doesn't look too tough but it was a long way up!

It was worth all the panting and cursing because the feeling of accomplishment when we reached the top was amazing. The views were beautiful and to think that we were just on the road 30 minutes before was super cool. I also realized that I need to invest in some hiking shoes for our next trip. My 2.5 year old Keds that have no traction were not really cutting it. I think a walking stick would help too oh, and maybe a hat...Once I am properly accessorized, I can go back and laugh in the face of that uphill trail.

Skyline Drive
skyline drive from up above. see.. it was a big trail to climb.


Atop Frazier Trail
the view from the top.

we had a chuckle over the bong that we found in the woods.
I don't know if I would enjoy being 'high' this high up with such a looong way to fall down.

After our hike we headed to the lodge for a late lunch. The lodge is located across from a big field and I was keeping my fingers crossed that there would be deer and fawns. I was not disappointed. There is nothing cuter than a baby fawn. The big eyes, the wet nose, the long eye lashes and those precious spots dotting their backs - love them! We spied three fawn that flitted between two moms. How very nurturing and caring each mamma deer was, even if it wasn't her offspring.

precious, just precious.

how could anyone shoot one of us? look how cute I am.

Spring Fawn
fawn in the meadow.

We saw lots of birds at the meadow too. Barn Swallows were zigging and zagging all across the road, American Robins were uncovering earth worms and a Brown Thrasher parent was teaching junior some life lessons. It was great and I could have stayed all day. My partner in crime was very tolerant but there is only so long that he can look at birds so he went off to the car to listen to some talk radio and relax. Again, I could have stayed for another hour just watching and observing and appreciating.

Brown Thrasher family
brown thrasher family
notice the baby hasn't 'matured' into his golden eyes yet

Barn Swallow
finally, one took a break. barn swallows fly for a looong looong time

Barn Swallow Babies
baby barn swallows!

We ended our day hiking down from one of the overlooks to a grouping of rocks. We heard a Barred Owl call and saw several warblers. Three new life birds for me. I was so happy. Sadly, they were too fast for me to photograph as they flew from tree top to tree top in mock speed. AND...Steve was standing too close to the edge for my liking and he was taking the edge off my bird high because I was afraid he was going to fall. Next time we go, I am bringing a tent and a sleeping bag and some hiking shoes and I am staying for a day or two...or three.

Careful there...
see....see how close to the edge he is. made me very nervous!

Taking it in
goodbye shenandoah national park. until next time...