My apologies for not having posted in a while. Let’s just say I was spending some quality time in Shenandoah National Park.

Hiking Whiteoak Canyon

October 20, 2009

There’s something almost magical about waking up in Shenandoah. Saturday as I crawled out of the tent, I looked around a few minutes before realizing there were deer nearby, less than 20 feet, masked by dense fog. Through the mist I saw the swaying figures and heard them ripping up the vegetation.

Slowly, as everyone got up, we developed a plan for the destination of the day, Whiteoak Canyon Trail, which leads to a gorgeous overview of a waterfall. I had never done that hike before, so I was excited. Read the rest of this entry »

On Friday evening I made a long overdue return to the mountains of Shenandoah National Park. It was horrendously foggy and ridiculously cold, but I didn’t care. It was heaven. Read the rest of this entry »

Sometimes I just get a gut feeling where to be. That was the case last Friday. As I cruised down Skyline Drive I stopped at The Oaks Overlook. I haven’t stopped at many overlooks lately, but something told me I needed to this time.

As I stepped out of the truck, I gazed below and noticed the vegetation was not very thick yet and the visibility was actually pretty good. A few seconds later, as I sat on the stone wall, a dark mass caught my eye off to the right. Bear!


It wasn’t a huge animal, but it lumbered along and dug at the ground a few times looking for food. For a few minutes, it was in its own world and I was a silent observer of my first bear of the season. Read the rest of this entry »

My, oh my. Seems I have some catching up to do, so let’s get to it!

On Sunday before last (April 26) I set out for Shenandoah National Park intent on checking out a short section of the Appalachian Trail between Swift Run Gap and Hightop Mountain.


Along the route, I observed a few insects but little else. I’ve had luck in the past along that path with birds and squirrels. I’m not sure what it was, but none were out that day. Read the rest of this entry »

Long trek in SNP

April 17, 2009

If it takes me this long to put a hike down in writing, it must have been a doozy. Last Sunday I did a long route in Shenandoah National Park, covering about 12 miles in seven hours.


In the past I’ve enjoyed hiking in the South District near Browns Gap, but I took another look at an area map and identified what I thought would be a leisurely hike. The route I marked involved parking at Loft Mountain and taking Patterson Ridge Trail down to the valley to meet up with Big Run Portal. From the Portal I would link back up with the Big Run Loop to the Appalachian Trail and then trek back up to the Loft Mountain area.

In a nutshell – all went according to plan, but phew… what a day. Read the rest of this entry »

After a self-imposed day of rest on Saturday, I hit the park hard on Sunday, with a sun up to sun down extravaganza.

I began in the South District. Read the rest of this entry »

Friday cruise in SNP

April 6, 2009

Friday turned out beautifully in Shenandoah National Park despite a little wind.

Initially, I observed a high number of robins and ravens in the Central District as well as numerous deer. I cruised for a bit past Big Meadows and I’m glad I did. At mile marker 47, I noticed two forms on the roadside that turned out to be wild turkeys.


I’ve only ever seen two other turkeys in the park so it was a nice surprise. It also didn’t hurt that I had a pair of them either. Not surprisingly, they started to waddle down a hill when they saw me. I briefly paralleled them from some distance until they kicked up their pace. Read the rest of this entry »

Tuesday was a bust photographically in not one, but two different sites.

In the early afternoon I hit Lake Shenandoah and little besides a few small birds seemed to be in the area. The loon I had photographed previously was still out and about but not its older counterparts. I also bumped into another nature lover and reader of this site (hello!). After a single loop of the lake route, I headed out without many results. Read the rest of this entry »

What a day

March 31, 2009

I had an excellent time Monday evening in Shenandoah National Park. Epic, maybe.

Thanks in large part to a generous donation (thank you!) I was able to kickoff a return run on the park in the central district. I decided to head toward Big Meadows and, upon arriving, was surprised to see an unexpected sight. It appears that a controlled burn has recently taken place in the field and all of the underbrush was gone.


Thinking that I may find something unique in this unusual habitat, I wandered the meadow but saw little besides robins. Read the rest of this entry »