Tuesday 16 October 2007

Beary good time in Shenandoah

We went to shenandoah NP in Virginia:

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on Sunday, camped the night at Big Meadows and came back on Monday night.

The trip was awesome and the park was beautiful in all its autumn glory. We saw some great mountain scenery and got a lot of walking in, taking the longer less travelled routes. Great little waterfalls choked with leaves and mountaintop views. The trees in the valleys and most of the understory had changed colour, but the upper canopy was still mostly green.

The campground was amazing - the facilities were excellent and we could even choose which site we wanted online. We picked a "walk to" campsite, which was right on the edge of the campground, so there was just national park on one side of us. The design was better than any of the popular national parks grounds I have been to at home, with large stretches of bush in between each site so you felt like you were almost on your own despite there being 290 sites! The deer were not scared of humans at all, and we had a number wander through and around our campsite.

Each site had a lockable bear bin for food storage as Shenandoah has one of the largest black bear populations in the US. We were excited by having to lock all our food away. The excitement continued when about midnight I was woken by a loud sniffing sound and something brushing up and down the side of the tent! It wasn't a deer. I proceeded to shit myself for the next few minutes, after which our friend decided that we didn't have any food in the tent after all. Unfortunately I was busting to go to the toilet for the rest of the night but too scared to go out in the dark :( Em managed to sleep through the encounter, which was the best result for everyone.

We topped it off by seeing a bear on sunday on the other side of a small gully, which was close enough to see it clearly but far enough away to have a good running head start :)

Oh, and check out Em's blog for the wedding ring saga....


Garth said...

Waaa! Scary dude. Not sure how I'd cope with bears ... Good to hear there's some nice nature for you to get out into. No climbing yet?

Wayward Rambler said...

Did Shenandoah have an entry charge to the park? My experience is that such charges improve facilities and access - like Haleakala on Maui.

SK said...

What mate, no geocaching? :-)

G said...

Tony, you are right about the entrance fees they were pretty expensive. I guess you get what you pay for!