May 10, 2011

Shenandoah National Park

I’m sitting in the Charlottesville Airport as I write this, perhaps the smallest airport I have ever been in. Looking out over the Blue Ridge Mountains I sit in a rocking chair, while I wait for my flight to Dulles Airport in DC. I’m reminded of my short-lived career as an aircraft mechanic as I watch regional jets landing and taking-off every twenty minutes or so. I’ve spent the last two days in Charlottesville, and had a really good time. Luckily for me, I finished early yesterday and today and took advantage of what this area of Virginia had to offer.
Above: I had to pull over a few times on my way to Shenandoah National Park. The mountains just loomed higher and higher over the farm country; beautiful.

Yesterday I drove to Shenandoah National Park and drove north on the infamous Skyline Drive. Skyline Drive spans 105 miles, the entire length of the Park and features over 75 scenic overlooks of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I entered the park about halfway up Skyline Drive and took it north 20 or 30 miles before stopping for dinner at Sky Land. It costs $15 to enter the park, however your receipt will get you in for the entire week, so I held on to that. This afternoon when I finished my work, I entered the park at about the same location and took it south. I stopped many times, got out, took pictures, meditated and even picked up a hiker who needed a ride. In general, I do not pick up hitchhikers, but being a backpacker myself, and seeing this hiker standing in the hot sun thumbing for a ride; I didn’t think twice about pulling over.
Above: A typical overlook along Skyline Drive.

I drove him to the southern end of the Park where he had started his northbound hike, four days earlier. During that 30-minute drive we exchanged several humorous stories of camping, fishing, loosing toenails and exchanged opinions on alcohol stoves and backpacking tents. Though I didn’t quite catch his full name when I dropped him near his car, he did say that he goes by the name of “Excuses”. It was nice meeting him and he left me with an even better opinion of Virginia than I had already gathered during the last two days here.

My flight to Dulles is just a connecting flight. From there, I catch another flight to Chicago. I’ll spend tonight and tomorrow night in the Windy City before flying home to NY on Thursday night. Looking forward to exploring Chicago; I’ve been there a couple of times before and had a good time. This time I plan to rent a bike and get more exploring in. I’ll be visiting a company, which will be supplying the passenger and cab seating for the WMATA Project. It may not be the most exciting facility, but I’ve been surprised before; you never know what to expect when auditing a new company. We shall see.


GTS said...

Wish I was there... that's an area I've always wanted to check out! BTW, Backcountry Boiler is back in business - I stuck a link on my blog ( Hope to see you Friday before I start my new adventure! ~Mofongo

Chaotic Thoughts and Times said...

Thanks Michael it was a long drive back to Tennessee and all. I enjoy the brief ride back to my car.
Doyal Hunter
trailname: Excuses