Sights from Hawksbill Mountain in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia

While the fall season is underway, I can’t help but reminisce about our summer vacation.  We ended up doing a fair amount of hiking in the Shenandoah area of Virginia and in the mountains of West Virginia.  I limited this post to photos from our hike up Hawskbill Mountain, the highest peak in Shenandoah National Park at 4,051 feet.

Shenandoah’s Skyline Drive, a 105 mile winding road, takes visitors through the entire park along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  It has about 70 overlooks so that visitors can soak up the beautiful views.  The drive is especially popular during the fall months when you can witness the spectacular red and orange foliage.  But when we were there, it was August, the foliage was completely green, and the air was thick with humidity.  It was still a beautiful place to be for our summer vacation.

At one point during our drive, we noticed cars slowing down.  At first, we were annoyed, but then we came to realize the reason for the slow-down:  a gorgeous bear chomping on some lunch on the side of the road, ignoring the line of cars containing human onlookers.

Luckily, we did not encounter any bears during our hike up the trail to Hawksbill Summit.  However, we did have two encounters with some deer.  And just like animals at the zoo, the deer refused to pose for pictures and tried to keep their backs to us.

One segment of the trail was littered with this interesting bug.

This caterpillar caught the kids’ attention.

Tree trunks also displayed some interesting artwork.  Fungi could be found everywhere.

At the top, we had some spectacular views of the valley below and the surrounding mountains/hills.  They say it’s a great place to view birds of prey, which I can corroborate.  We saw one or two hawks (or falcons?) flying around while we soaked in the view.

This little guy was a cutie pie.

Unlike at home, this chipmunk stayed long enough to pose for a couple of pictures.

This bee didn’t seem to be bothered by us.

Nor this bee.

Here’s a butterfly hard at work.

There were wild flowers along the trail here and there, which were nice surprises.

And back to a view from the summit.  There, they have an observation platform where you can comfortably and safely rest and enjoy the summit.  We took full advantage of it and stayed up there for quite a while.  I needed the rest anyway because the climb up was steep-ish (for me) and rocky, so I was pretty tired when we got up to the top!

I’m ready for another vacation!

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    1. I’m glad the bear was on the side of the road and not on one of our trails! Hope you get to see the changing colors of the leaves in Shenendoah.–APK

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