Sunday, October 25, 2009

Leaf Peeping

Today, we took a drive along the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, enjoyed the fall foliage, took a couple of short hikes, and ended the day with some wine tasting at one of Virginia's many excellent vineyards. The foliage was gorgeous on the 90 mile drive to the park, but had kind of gone past along the crest of the Blue Ridge. A young black bear about 50 feet up a tree just yards from the Skyline Drive caused massive traffic jams, and we saw a deer and many chipmunks on one of the hikes.

Here are some photos from the day.
Views from the Skyline Drive
The first hike went to Betty's Rock, with great views of the mountains and the Shenandoah Valley.
Our second hike went along the easy and scenic Limberlost Trail. The giant hemlocks that once dominated this area are all dead, killed by the wooly adelgid. It was sad to see these once vital giants lying dead on the forest floor. Huge populations of chipmunks were thriving in the mostly open woods, and we saw dozens of them along the trail.
The Limberlost Trail is pretty flat, and paved with crushed stone. It is actually considered wheelchair accessible, and there are nice benches placed along the way - perfect to have a snack, reflect for a while on nature, or even read a book on a nice day.
Mother Nature loves to dress up this time of year!
The giant hemlocks live no more in this area, and I find this quite sad.
Beautiful work was done on this bridge across a stream. I would love to quit work and spend much of my time volunteering at parks and for the defeating cancer cause.
I found the "heart-shaped" cavity in this stump unusual.
Back on the Skyline drive, we saw more beautiful scenery on the drive along the ridgeline.
Horton Vineyards seemed the perfect spot to end a nice day. Nothing like doing a little wine tasting on a beautiful October day. Of course, we bought several bottles to help the economy, including an intriguing red dessert wine that is infused with chocolate.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a beautiful ride and hike. Enjoyed all your photos.
    There seems to be a lot more chipmunks around my area than usuall. Maybe I'm just noticing them more.