Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Off Grid, Part Two

As you can see from the previous post we went to camping last weekend in Shenandoah National Park. Elise got a new sleeping bag for her birthday, so we had to take it on a test run before the summer was over. 

We only spent one night, Saturday night, but I think we definitely made the most of our time there. After setting up camp Saturday afternoon, we went on a hike to  Overall Run Falls. The hike was four miles round trip, and the boys held up amazingly. They set the pace and didn't complain once about the distance. We even saw what we're pretty sure was a rattlesnake on the trail, but thanks to Elise's keen eyes, we were able to pull up just short of the snake slithering across our path and wait until it made its way back into the grass. 

In the height of summer, the "falls", the highest in the park, was really not much more than a trickle, but enough to cool down. When we got back to camp, Elise and the boys started the campfire over which we roasted hot dogs for dinner and s'mores for dessert. 

The next morning, we decided to drive a little deeper into the park after breaking camp to the Skyland lodge. It was 20 miles from our campsite down Skyline Drive and on the way, we spotted a black bear on the side of the road. The car in front of us stopped to look at it, so we stopped, too. There was really no way to go around even if we wanted to. Skyline Sr winds its way along the ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is mostly double-yellow line the entire length of the twisty mountain road. 

As we were looking at the bear--because, really, that's what one does in a national park...look at the wildlife--a pair of motorcyclists came up behind us and started revving their pipes, obviously upset that we had stopped in the middle of the road. Well, like I said, I couldn't have gone anywhere even if I wanted to, because the guy in front of me was stopped, too, but the sound of the pipes scared the bear away, much to the kids' disappointment. One of the motorcycles then when tearing around us. Just as he did, his partner who was stopped behind us tipped over and became trapped under her bike. I saw it in the rear view mirror. The guy pulled his bike over and went running back to pull the bike off her, but not before making sure to stop and fling a few choice words my if somehow I was complicit in making his girlfriend tip her bike. "That's karma for you," Elise said. She then had to explain to Sam what karma was. 

We proceeded to Skyline lodge but hurried the kids out of the car before someone motorcycle posse recognized us and beat me up. I even carried Clementine under the false hope that a crazed biker wouldn't lay out a dad carrying his sweet four year-old daughter. 

Despite the near run-in with the bikers, a we had a very relaxing, a lot of work but much needed weekend "off the grid", so to speak. We really were unplugged for almost 48 hours which is nearly unheard of in this day and age. After a light lunch of turkey sandwiches and some coffee at the lodge, we went on another short hike to the top of Stony Man Mountain. Wee hooked and are already planning a return trip to the park, if only for a day hike. 

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