Tuesday, May 02, 2006

skyline drive

last weekend, rick, betsy, drew, bea and i met in virginia's shenandoah national park to camp for a couple of nights and hike Old Rag (seen in the distance behind us in this photograph taken sat. morning on Skyline Drive).

r & b got out there on thursday in "bonnie," their trusty little camper. we followed on friday night, getting there around 10:30 because of an ill-advised stop at baha fresh (we couldn't pass up "enchilado-styling" our burritos, which is the baha fresh equivalent of super-sizing, only instead of extra fries you get extra melted cheese and sauce and require knife, fork and a lot of napkins - not driving friendly).

but the happy news was that because we got there so late, we never had to pay the $15 park entry fee. nota bene, anyone planning a trip there. and because it was late and cold and bonnie was warm and already set up, we ditched our tent and crowded into the camper to sleep. we realized the error of our ways the next morning, when, at sunrise, bea decided that jumping on everyone's heads was a brilliant idea. this, after a night spent in a bed slightly wider and shorter than a twin, with two adults and an excited pup. somehow we forgot this lesson and repeated the whole thing the next night. but by then we had spent 7 hours "hiking" Old Rag (at the summit, it's more like bouldering), and slept like, well, old rags.

on saturday we got up and dined on fried bagels (highly recommended) before driving a meandering hour along Skyline Drive and through historic Sperryville (where an ambitious little shop announced, "Antique Tables Made Daily!") to the base of the mountain.

since dogs aren't *really* allowed on the mountain, and we were determined to bring bea, we decided to use the longer but less well-tread fire road to get up the mountain, figuring that once we got up there, it wouldn't matter what way we came down, even if we were caught with the dog. this way proved to be heavy on the wildflowers, and so we got in touch with our innter botanists using the new magnifying loupes the derricks had brought. yes, we are earnest. thank you for asking.

we didn't make it to the summit before we stopped for lunch, which felt like cheating, but turned out to be smart - we needed fuel for an ascent and then descent that required every muscle in our bodies as we pulled ourselves up over towering boulders, leaped over deep canyons, and dropped into narrow channels. bea is basically a mountain goat in disguise and only had to be handed across a gap 3 or so times. this was not one of them (you can see her head in the center):
for our dedicated fans, there are more images here: http://flickr.com/photos/10516738@N00/tags/shenandoah/

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