The tall mountains peaks are back and I am so happy! I feel at home when I’m in the mountains and the Appalachian Mountains are beautiful! The leaf colors here are more settled—mild yellows, browns, and reds. We are staying in Virginia for two weeks and this is the first campground we are staying at for that length of time. We are going to be staying at campgrounds for longer periods of time now that winter is fast approaching and we will be staying in warmer states.
We are in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains and close to Shenandoah National Park, a 311 square mile park established in 1935. Part of the park connects to the famous Blue Ridge Parkway and hosts parts of the Appalachian Trail. During the week, Brad and I visited the park a few times to get in small hikes and explore the area. Skyline Drive runs through the park and is 105 miles long. It doesn’t sound like a long drive until you realize you are driving in the twists and turns of the mountains and can only drive 35 mph. Along the roadway were overlooks of the mountaintops and surrounding towns.
One evening we wanted to get out so Brad found a small lake for us to visit, Sherando Lake. The lake is in the George Washington National Forest surrounded by colorful mountains and with an island in the middle. Walking along the lake, we saw a kayaker out on the lake, men were fishing, small children were running around, and an older couple had brought chairs and were enjoying the views. It was a beautiful, warm evening, and we understood the need of others to enjoy the lake, too.
This was our first full weekend not having to drive so Brad’s parents came to visit. We went on a small hike on Saturday at the National Park and while driving in the park, we saw black bears! We were safely in our car but there were lots of people out of vehicles taking pictures of the two baby bears in trees (sorry, we didn’t stop, so no pictures). We hiked along part of the Appalachian Trail where the trail started with bare trees and then opened up to some hay and a graveyard! All four of us had never seen a graveyard while hiking and at the Visitor Center, we soon learned the meaning behind the graveyard. When the park was being developed, an estimated 500 families were relocated. Some of the families moved out on their own and some moved into a government-built development. Family houses were knocked down, but the graveyard we saw was not disturbed.
October is a big time of year for campgrounds as they have Halloween activities for most of the month. On Saturday, the campground had a haunted hayride and trick-or-treating for the kids. Brad and I didn’t know about the trick-or-treating so we had no candy for the kids. We felt bad and made sure to go to Costco the next day to get candy for next weekend.
We have one more week exploring the mountain peaks and then we will be off to North Carolina. Till then!