Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Back in the USA - Shenandoah National Park

had about 10 days once I was back in the US before my brother's wedding. I spent a weekend in Peoria catching up with friends and had a little party that was lots of fun. I even took my bike for my first street ride...8 miles! I was pretty nervous and had some issues stalling it a few times, but overall a success. 

Then it was wedding time and we got all did up for our first traditional family wedding (we had one elopement!). The photographer releases pictures later this month and I'm excited to see them all. It was a beautiful day and everything went wonderfully. I took a day or two to recover and then got on the road. I was headed towards DC to visit friends and went via Shenandoah National Park in western Virginia. 

This was my first camping outing since back in the US and it was bear country. Gladly I didn't see any bears as I was a little nervous. I did however have two deer right next to me in the brush as I put my tent up. They were not phased. I also saw one rabbit in the morning, but that was the extent of my wildlife sightings. I did use the bear box to stow my food and scented gear so as not to attract unwanted visitors. You have to stick your hand up in the handle area to release the doors and my biggest concern was a spider :). 
The deer and my bear box

The spider in my bear box

There were no other campers in my loop of sites although there were plenty of other campers nearby in the campground. Mostly RVs and trailers. I built my first small campfire with collected wood, twigs, etc. I did have to use some paper garbage to get it started though. And then my clothes reeked of campfire smoke. Oops :). The temps were down in the 40s but I stayed plenty warm and comfortable.

Home for the night

I arrived late in the day, driving south to north through the park. The next morning I drove to the visitor center and got a good recommendation on a hike that would take me to early afternoon. The trail  followed the river/creek and I had lunch on some big boulders in the cascades. It wasn't very crowded but was very tranquil cascades (mini rapids), waterfalls and some pools of water. I purchased a Fitbit as I thought it would be fun to track (my friend Mary had the stats from the Inca Trail and that was pretty neat). 

Good morning!

My hike plan

Fitbit daily stats: 15,440 steps, 6.53 miles, 107 floors

There are tons of hiked here and the leaves were just staring to change. If I had more time, I would have loved to stay longer. But on to DC (Alexandria VA actually) to see friends and their new six month old twins!
A preview of the twins and their big sis :)

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