Sunday, May 22, 2011

Shenandoah National Park

Last week we took a three night camping trip to Shenandoah National Park. It was gorgeous! But we discovered that camping with a toddler is exhausting. There was so much trouble for Julia to get into-play in the ash, roll down the hill, pull down the tarp. So basically one of us had to be watching her all the time while the other person set up camp/cooked/cleaned up/packed our daypacks. It rained off and on Thursday and Friday, which I think made the park a lot less crowded that it could have been. The campground was mostly empty on Thursday night (although by Friday there were more, and Saturday it was full). Robert is so handy, he made a shelter with a tarp, poles, and rope to put over the picnic table to keep things dry and give us a place to hang out during the rain. The rain actually didn't bother us that much since it never rained on our hikes and we had plenty of blankets to keep us warm during the night.
The first full day we were there (Friday) Julia slept in until 9:00! So by the time she woke up and we had breakfast and got ready to go it was almost 11:00. We did a 3.2 mile hike to Doyles River Falls. There was one 28' waterfall and one 63' waterfall. Beautiful!
Our attempt at a family picture at the smaller falls (above) and Robert and Julia at the larger falls (below). Julia just got some sunglasses and she loves them. She likes to put them on top of her head like her Mommy.
That night we had the traditional hot dogs and s'mores for dinner. Of course Julia loved the s'more.
The next day we did the 4.7 mile South River Falls hike with an 83' waterfall. Below, Robert and Julia at the top of the waterfall.
Julia and I on our lunch break during the hike (above). When we got to the base of the waterfall the first thing I noticed was a large stick-like object floating in the water near the waterfall, except it wasn't floating the way you would expect a stick to move. It was a huge snake! We watched it from a distance for a while and it just floundered around in the same area. So we got closer and kept an eye on it the entire time we were there. It never got anywhere. Our theory was that it had just eaten a fish and couldn't swim well enough to get out from the waterfall current. Here is the snake we saw in the water (below).
At the foot of the falls (below).
On Sunday after we had packed up and before we headed home we went on a short 1 mile hike to Blackrock Summit. Julia told us she wanted to walk, so we let her walk until she got tired. She made it about a quarter of a mile.
Robert finally let me carry the backpack.
To get to the summit you had to climb a rock scramble, so Julia and I didn't go up to the very top. Robert climbed to the summit and took a 360 panorama (I know it's small, but I don't know how to make it any bigger). It was nice to get away from our regular routine for a while and even though Julia was a little crazy while we were camping she has been more happy and obedient in the past few days since we've been back than before we left. I think it was nice for her to have a change too. I'm also glad that Robert and now Julia love to hike as much as I do, we had a lot of fun.
And because we just took so many pictures I couldn't resist throwing a few more random ones in.
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