our second full day in shenendoah was beautiful. unfortunately, so overnight wind and rain had knocked a LOT of leaves off the trees. there was a distinct difference in fall foliage between the two days.
on tap for the day was a short little hike that derek discovered that took us up to bearfence mountain. shenendoah is a one of the more dog friendly national parks, but ruby was not allowed on this trail. we soon discovered why. there was a lot of technical stuff. scrambling, climbing, squeezing, scooting. the kids had a BLAST.
at the summit, we were rewarded with 360 degree views of the park. it was pretty great. we wandered around a bit and took it all in. had some snacks and drinks. took some pics. you know the drill.
and then we started back down. still technical. still a lot of scooting.
we definitely thought we were pretty cool when the trail linked up with the actual appalachian trail for a bit. we are basically outdoor survival professionals.
the hike was short and lovely. when we were done, we went back to camp to rescue ruby from her incarceration and take her for a walk. there were lots of dear wandering in our campground and she thought she was tough stuff, barking at them with her most intimidating voice. she also loved to eat their poop, but thats another story.
the kiddos finished up their ranger books and we went over to the visitor center to make things official, where our current ranger to date did the swearing in ceremony.
for our last evening in the park, we figured we should probably catch another sunset. derek found a little outcrop thing, just a few hundred feet from an overlook that we could park at, so we hauled all our tech and kids and dogs and a chair and all the things and set up shop to away the earth turning away from the sun.
there was more golden hour photography. and pre sunset pics.
and now. let me tell you a story. while we were sitting there, this woman strolled in. and noticed we were in the way of some perfect photo she was hoping to get. she made several passive aggressive comments about it. and i even told her that i was afraid if we moved, someone else would just take the spot. and if when the sunset started, we were the only obstruction we would move. but she continued with the comments. to each more professional photographer who arrived. gesturing to us, remarking how we were ruining the shot and but “hey, what are you gonna do?”. she was also super condescending about professional cameras vs. iphones. but whatever. anyhooooo. all that to say. by the time the sunset rolled around, the place was packed. there was no way she was ever going to get her people free perfect shot that she had envisioned. sorry, but the days of having iconic locations to yourself are long gone.
anyhoooo. the sunset did not disappoint. and we all snuggled up to have a moment. ahhhh….
the annababy was in for the long haul, but derek took the other two up to the car.
i’m actually more of a fan of the post sunset sky than the actual sunset. (especially deserts, but this will do).
so. that night. we found a tick on anna. behind her ear. and she FREAKED out. we have a little tick removal tool. it was no big deal. at all. but the damage was done. done, i tell you. all three kids were mortified to go back out in the wilderness, for fear of ticks. and refused to go on another hike the next day before we drove home. i was pretty frustrated. but it’s also a reminder of some of the reasons we felt like we had to come off the road.
so. the next morning. after a bit of excitement when hazel woke up minus one tooth. we packed up. bought our t-shirts, stickers, and patches. and headed home.