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
I’ve seen bears in my own yard more times than I care to count! Black bears. And I’ve seen grizzlies in Yellowstone. I’ve been to Yellowstone and Yosemite..many more are on my list.
The mountains look gorgeous.
Oh wow, you have them in your yard! Do you have a method for keeping them away?
I would love to go to both Yellowstone and Yosemite one day!
We absolutely LOVE LOVE state parks!! Thanks for sharing your pictures. Since we haven’t really written things down, I’m not sure where all we’ve been in total. Recently though, Caledonia in PA, Hanging Rock in NC, Roan Mountain in TN, and Morrow Mountain in NC.
That’s a lot of recent ones! Do you have a favorite? A favorite local state park for me is Minnewaska State Park Preserve in the Shawangunk Ridge.
First off, I’ve been a little MIA when it comes to the blogging world lately, so I would just like to welcome you back! I missed you for that long month you were gone! It made me realize how much I look forward to reading about you and your adventures! I hope you had a marvelous holiday season too!
My family is from North Carolina and Virginia, so I get to visit all the sites and National Parks at least once a year. It’s always a privilege. It amazes me how beautiful the world truly is. Since I visit these places so often, I rarely think of photographing them. Your pictures have made me rethink that notion! You and your friend Ellen look so gorgeous in that picture! (I have taken a picture in front of the signs! Those are a must!) I’m glad you liked your visit!
Once again a comment from you has made my day, Katherine! I’m planning on getting back to at least 3 posts per week and your words are such welcome encouragement. Thank you so much 🙂
Definitely photograph, on matter how often you see it! Everything’s different every time, you know? Different seasons, different colors in the sky, different state of mind.
And thanks for your nice compliment!
Awww… black bears and deer. I used to watch both of those animals walk through my front yard where I used to live. I miss them! Some of my favorite places in the country are state and national parks. Yellowstone. Mesa Verde. Bryce Canyon. Goodness. The list could just go on and on.
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I can’t wait to visit all those parks out west! Lucky that you’ve seen so many of them. We have deer around my house, but I worry for them with how fast many of the cars go down our street :\
Thanks for the GORGEOUS photos. That skyline – wow.
I’ve not been to nearly as many national parks as I’d like. I’ve been to Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain, and I think that’s it. I’d love to go to Zion and Smoky Mountain national parks.
I love sharing my husband’s photos! 🙂 I’ve heard Zion is fantastic, but then again…each of the National parks probably have some bit of amazing.
I absolutely LOVE National Parks and have been to many. We have been trying to figure out a time to hit some of the biggies out West. They are the ones that we have seen the least!
I just love the mountains! You captured some beautiful photos!! –Lisa
Thanks for stopping by, Lisa! I’d love to explore out West more, too- severely lacking on my mental ‘where I’ve been’ list for some reason. Thanks for the compliment, will pass it on to my husband!
Those bears! Seeing bears in the wild is definitely on my bucket list. Such a great trip.
It felt like such a treat seeing them! Next thing I want to see in the wild is moose- I’m in Maine nearly every year and I still haven’t seen one yet!
Hi I am a new follower to your lovely blog (Via Pinterest & Blogvin)and it really feel pleasure meeting new awesome bloggers like you. Found you through Weekend Wander Hop. I would love it if you follow me back
Hi Christy, your photography is beautiful! My husband and I drove through this area on our way home from Atlanta over the Thanksgiving holiday and we pledged to return. It is so pretty…so serene…and so rich with history, which my husband loves. Thanks for adding to the interest level in this area. 🙂
Thanks for your nice comment, Kelly! I’d love to go back in the springtime to see everything in bloom
It does look like a wonderful road trip. I love that you came across the small bears playing. I’m visiting today from the Weekend Wandering blog hop.
Thanks for stopping by, Rosey. I’ll never forget those bears!
I grew up in Northern VA. Every year my family and I visited Shenandoah National Park. I remember the deer being so tame that they ate apples out of our hands. It was great. I’m stopping by via the SITS comment love tribe.