Out of Front Royal, we entered Shenandoah National Park; this set of pictures goes through SNP to Waynesboro.
Our first shelter in SNP was Tom Floyd Shelter. Leaving in the morning, I saw my first bear; it quite unabashedly came and checked out the fire pit and the picnic table (and didn't seem perturbed by me or the other hiker present) before ambling away. It was smallish (to mid-thigh, maybe), and remarkably lanky; it also had a green tag in its ear. We saw some its size, and some maybe a foot or so taller at the shoulder. Most bears we saw in SNP we noticed because they were turning and dashing away into the woods, but a couple have been unimpressed by our fearsomeness (this one, apparently, included).
Trail register art!
I do more perching on rocks than does Jo.
One of the fun and enlivening things about the hike has been the changing and mixing of the seasons: sometimes summer, sometimes fall.
Shelter register art! (We visit a wayside for a fast-food breakfast. And lunch.)
Being in a national park (with tourist-bus access) led, on one occasion, to a whole herd of tourists sharing our lunch-stop shelter. As a one-time event, rather surreal.
We camped at the top of a mountain (but not above tree line); I read out on a rocky overlook and watched the sun go down, and admired the city lights in the valley.
To avoid rain, I hiked ahead of Jo one day — she stealthed, I camped at a shelter (arriving just after dark). I shared the shelter with some boy scouts: three slept there, but the whole bunch convened for breakfast, which was amusing.
(Pretty flora, pretty fauna.)
Fancy food! We packed in hot dogs for two suppers. The first we boiled (we were stealthing, so no fire ring). The second we had for lunch — we built a fire at a shelter. I even toasted my bread-and-cheese. (Don't mind the ash flecks.)
One of the fun things — natural 'trail magic' — in Shenandoah was the apple trees. An occasional snack of fresh fruit was wonderful (especially since it required neither packing in nor packing out). The apple trees are apparently remnants of old orchards.
Snake! Possibly a Black Racer; identification welcome. I guessed it was non-venomous, since it didn't have obvious venom sacs, nor was it a species I knew as dangerous; but we skirted it carefully anyway.
More fun reptiles.
Stealth site after breaking camp.
We visited an overlook on Skyline.
Occasionally there are bits of drier soil and pines, which feel like home to me (being from New Mexico).
The forest turns in patches. Neal (who recently took Hubble for his trail name) told us about a specific species of tree he'd noticed that turned after heavy rains, and had turned in some areas but not others, though I forget what it was.
Hiking in the morning: photogenic light.
Our closest bear encounter — and we happened to be hiking together for it. The bear was foraging around and across the path, and seemed unconcerned by our presence; eventually we said 'excuse us!' loudly and variously, and it ambled away a little. Very cool, kind scary. (We want to see bears, but we don't want to see bears.)
Black Rock. Every now and then there's a rock cascade; the sign pictured says that they're bluffs which have collapsed.
I hadn't seen the single-foot power line pole style before (cable-stayed), though we've run across it a few times.
Caterpillar! (Large-cigar sized.)
Near a radio tower at a peak, there was this group of odd seats.
Stick bugs are moderately common in Virginia, it seems.
P.A.T.C (inevitably "patsy" — the Potomac AT Club) maintained the trails through Shenandoah. We enjoyed both the trails and the 'goodbye' sign.
We arrived in Waynesboro! It was our first mail drop, featuring food and fun all around.
Sunset in Waynesboro, over one of the several churches.
We launder our trail clothes, newly attired in dollar-store garb (which has turned out to be a great investment).
I happend on a little used book store. Among "classics" were The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (or similar), which was a good and quick read; and Far From The Maddening Crowd, which I've read some of but which has some rather maddening sentence structures.
We lunched at a local sports bar, which was incredibly cheap. Pictured are "small" cheese-and-chile fries. (I can't imagine eating a large.)