As we planned our trip, hitting the seasons just right was our biggest concern. The ultimate goal would be to time every park to be as close to 70 degrees as possible. We knew that some parks would be hotter, and some would be colder, but if we took our average temperature throughout the whole journey, I bet it will be pretty close to 70! Shenandoah National Park fell in between the seasons. When we were there, fall had ended, but winter hadn’t totally moved in.
Almost all the leaves had fallen from their trees. We were hiking through a toothpick forest. The trees seemed embarrassingly aware of their nakedness. Kind of like when you shave your dog in the summer and he wont leave the house for a few days? I was getting the same vibes from the trees.
“Grab your nuts! Winter is coming!”
Vladimir didn’t mind the colder weather. He, as always, was stoked to get outside.
It wasn’t quite yet winter status in the park, but things were freezing up! We had some fun with the icicles all along our trails – well, I did at least.
We had heard that one of the waterfalls in the park was frequented by Thomas Jefferson himself. We wanted to walk in the founding father’s footsteps so we set off to Dark Hollow Falls.
When we got there, we saw a completely different picture of the falls than our guidebook showed. The falls in the picture were lush and green – the falls we saw halfway iced over and most things around it were dead.
Seeing the winter make its way into the life of the park made me grateful for change. I love the seasons. Yeah, we wanted to keep our temperatures near 70 degrees, but really, the beauty of 70 degrees comes from experiencing the freezing cold and the insanely hot. The cold was coming in to remind me of how good I have had it most of the trip in my temperature comfort zone.
Even though the trees were bare, we were able to take in the rolling vistas that the park drive had to offer. I can’t even imagine what this place looks like at the peak of the leaves coloring. I think we are going to have to bring our kids back here someday for that!
Our first night in the park, we read that the road is closed and you can’t get out after a certain hour. We missed the cutoff so we decided to sleep at the trailhead of area we wanted to explore the next morning. BAD IDEA. At about 7:00 am the next morning a park ranger was knocking on our door. He told us that we can’t illegally camp like that (even though we were literally didn’t even get out of the RV that night!) I explained that we thought we were locked in, and he said it wasn’t a big deal. He just wanted to make sure that we weren’t having any campfires. Luckily he gave us a warning.
The cold temperatures can’t stop me from wearing my Chacos! It is always sockos season!
Vladimir was pretty satisfied to be out on his leash with us. He is kind of a stinker though! With out fail, as soon as he gets out of the RV h rolls in the dirt. He is a killer at heart and always has to cover his scent.
“I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay till sundown, for going out… was really going in.”
– John Muir
We feel bad that Shenandoah National Park got the in between seasons card. We have been keeping a list of places that perhaps we didn’t quite give a full chance – Shenandoah is on the list. We need to go back and experience in its full beauty!