I’ve always looked back on our time in Shenandoah National Park fondly, as it’s the only time I’ve ever seen bears in the wild. Andy and I spent the winter of ’07-’08 on the road in a camper van (a most grand adventure, I assure you) and were hiking one day when in the distance there they were: two black bear cubs playing adorably with each other.
Bear cubs! Not in the zoo, but in their natural habitat! I loved it.We stood for several minutes, just watching them in awe. Andy actually took some video footage, because who knew if we’d ever see something so rare again? Of course, we told each other that wherever cubs are, the mama bear is always close by. When we did spot a much larger bear, we abruptly ceased any conversation and photographing and turned around, abandoning whatever lay ahead of us on the trail in favor of the safety of our camper. Skyline Drive is the perfect place to go if you just want quiet- especially in winter. We hardly saw any other people the two days we spent driving there. It was us, the woods, and the wildlife. Oh, yes: the scenery was spectacular, as well: See more of the bears, the views, and a time-lapse sunset in this video Andy made (try not to laugh too much at me getting in my ‘exercise’ by running around the camper:)
And so we come back to Friday. We eagerly followed the signs for Skyline Drive as we headed west along Virginia Route 250…and found a bunch of others cars parked in front of a closed gate. It was closed until morning! I was disappointed, but in retrospect, it would have taken us a lot longer to get home has we gone through the park, and we were delirious enough as it was.
We did get out of the car south of the Skyline gate, and just because we were there, took a picture at the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway.My, what a much-needed road trip this was! Look for more posts from our trip coming up soon!
Have you been to many national parks? Shenandoah was only my third, after Acadia National Park in Maine and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. What are some of your favorite places to go for peace and quiet?
National parks, for me, provide a doorway into a transcendent experience. A sense of something that’s greater than yourself, a way of being that’s greater than yourself…There’s no need to stand on airs and think that you’re better than this person or not as good as that person, because we’re all diminished and at the same time amplified by being in their presence. –Shelton Johnson