Sunday, June 06, 2010

Shenandoah National Park

This past weekend the national parks that charge fees were free! Great for us as we live less than an hour from Shenandoah National Park. We decided to take the kids up Skyline Drive for a hike.

We chose a nice 4 mile trail that had waterfalls, cascades and streams. It was a beautiful day too! Only about 75 degrees when we arrived. A great day for a nice hike! We even packed a lunch! Armed with Off and water we begun our adventure!

It was only a few yards into our walk when we saw our first wildlife. Chipmunks! They are too cute. They were running all over the forest floor. I never realized how little they are. During the hike we probably saw about 6-7 of them running around. After a mile or so we begun to see millipedes. These things are huge! And they are pretty fast. We happened to walk over a few and next to a few. They seemed to be all around.

After a few miles we made it to a bridge over the Rose River. We stopped to look at the river cascading under us. I was observing the water when I noticed what looked like a strange rivet on the bridge. After a moment, I realized it was a snake. Yep. Right there on the bridge. And he wasn't alone. There were 2 of them just feet away from us on the bridge. We also noticed some snake skin. Hmmm...we decided it was time to keep moving.

Only a little bit further and we found a rock outcropping on the river to have lunch. It was very pretty and relaxing. There were a few puddles and we noticed that one of them was overflowing with tadpoles. Hundreds of them. All hanging out and eating algae. It was pretty awesome. Imagine them all hopping away one day!

After lunch, we continued on our walk. After about another 15 minutes we stopped to look over the river and lo and behold we spy a deer drinking from the river. It was beautiful. It just stood there on the bank drinking water and eating leaves. It moved up the hill more but didn't leave. We all just stood there watching for a good 5 minutes before it took off. It was the most amazing thing! I almost forget we weren't at the zoo!

We only had about another mile left and we were really getting tired. As we finally came to the end of the trail we got to see one more dear! It sprang right across the path in front of us! It was amazing! Deer, snakes, insects, chipmunks! Definitely a hike to remember! Hopefully we will be able to go back soon and check out another trail. I just hope it holds as many surprises at this one!

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