Shenandoah River State Park
Friday saw what was originally last weekend's plan - Shenandoah River State Park. This park is in the Shenandoah valley, right past Shenandoah National Park and Front Royal, nestled along a few bends in the Shenandoah river.
I definitely need to go camping at this park. They have cabins, tent sites, and yurts. One of the rangers is working on getting the park recognized as an International Dark Skies location, and they have monthly star parties with telescopes.
I started the day taking a loop hike along the river. The riverside portion is called the Bluebell trail, and the return is called the Overlook trail. The Bluebell trail ends in a large meadow with lots of rabbits. Most of the rabbits were skittish, but this one was rolling in the dust on the road and then allowed me to get super close. This picture is only cropped for aspect ratio, no zooming.
About the time I was finishing up with the rabbits my phone got signal and started buzzing about a severe thunderstorm warning. OK, so storms here move across the ridge line from the west, and it's a complete crapshoot for how fast they move over the ridge. I checked the weather radar and saw a nice red, crimson, and white colored storm that I really did not want to be out in. The return hike was along the overlook with some elevation gain, but some beautiful pictures. The storm ended up splitting around us.
Above you can see the edge of the storm coming over the mountain ridge. It looked like a torrential downpour and I'm glad I stayed dry. After I stayed dry I decided to find a spot for dinner. I ended up parking my chair right on the river and having a lovely dinner of PB&J and a sparkling water.
After dinner I was gradually making my way back up to the overlook when I saw some deer. Apparently I got too close, because this one stomped its hoof at me. Shenandoah deer aren't as friendly as the Ashburn deer. Virginia has lots of deer - I have still seen a deer every time I have gone out, either walking on the W&OD or out to a park.
I spent plenty of time up at this overlook and met plenty of people. One family said they were on their sixth night in the park and listed off all the wildlife they'd seen - eagles, foxes, owls, the list goes on. The image I was waiting for is below. It looked great on camera and it's quite a lovely image.
I didn't realize it until editing, but the best image of the weekend is this panorama I stitched together. It is what I really wanted but didn't have the lens for. I think it will be my next Instagram posting.