Monday June 8 and Tuesday Morning June 9, 2015
Big Meadows Campground
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
MONDAY June 8
I’ve been watching the weather both in Charlottesville and in Shenandoah National Park for several days now. Today it is supposed to be in the upper 80’s in Charlottesville and around 80 in the Park. Time to move. But “they” also say thunderstorms beginning at 3pm.
So we get Winnona packed and are on the road in time to get to the site and set up before that happens. One of the things we set up are our new zero gravity chairs. Even duct tape couldn’t save the old ones. But over 5 years on these chairs seems actually amazing to me. I think as a society we’ve pretty much given up on the idea that things should last 20 or 30 years like in the “old days”.
This time they are on the dot with their forecast. The rains begin at 3:00 just as we are finishing putting up the sun screen on the awning. But that’s OK, remember we are here to avoid the heat.
It’s a proper thunderstorm and pours down rain for less than half an hour and then the sun comes out. But not for long. It rains all evening and the winds are wicked over night. I wake up many times worrying about the awning but I don’t want to go out and check for fear of waking David up. Sleep is difficult for him now.
We have put on deflappers and have the shade screen holding the front down but I wish we had lowered it some. Happily everything is fine in the morning.
Sheets of rain come down
Our neighbors are curious about us.
I think I’ve already mentioned that there is no wifi or cell signal in the campground. Zero. Nada. So nothing to amplify. If I want to answer email, pay bills or post blogs I have to go up to the Lodge about a mile away. Therefore I may not be posting as often while we are here. But I’ll do what I can. Even with no electric, no water, no wifi, no cell service and pay showers, I LOVE our national parks!
TUESDAY Morning June 9
This morning I get dressed and tell David I’m going to get some of my 10,000 steps by walking down to the end of the bike trail which is about a mile and a half away. He’s in. Because on Sunday I only paid for 2 nights, “just in case”, we stop by the check in to pay for 6 more. The cute little check in building was built by the CCC and opened in 1939 as the check in station for the newly built campground AND also as the ranger’s house. How much less space they needed then than we think we do now.
That’s actually almost the exact square footage of Winnona. Wonder where I could put the check in station part?
Today Lori is not here. It is a different ranger and he is pretty firm that you should pay night by night “in case you don’t want to stay that long. You can’t get your money back you know.” I’m not sure why I acquiesce to change my plan since I really don’t want to. I can’t think of one reason we won’t stay here for 6 more days. Even if it rains. It’s raining everywhere. There is no fear of evacuation and David is only 45 miles from the doctor. But I pay for 3 and grumble that I’ll just have to come back on Friday.
The bike trail is a very nice paved path from the Visitor Center all the way past The Wayside, out to the campground and on to the lodge. Like most things here it is straight up from the VC or straight down from the Lodge. We decide to see how many steps it is to walk down and back to the Wayside. David hasn’t seen it. We save the Visitor’s Center for a day when we want to be inside. One of those rainy ones.
Just at this moment I am too tired to research this pretty white rocket looking wild flower that is blooming in the ferns along the path as we walk by. If you know what it is, I hope you’ll tell us.
The Wayside is a combination camp store, gift shop and restaurant. They are open from 8:00AM to 8:00 PM and serve breakfast and lunch/dinner. For fancier fare the Big Meadows Lodge also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Rather than buy things we don’t need I just take some pictures of things I find interesting while David spends a few minutes looking around.
You can buy the T-shirt and all the ingredients to put yourself to work as a taster.
Oh and Carrie, here’s an early Christmas idea for your dad. A bit pricey for a paperback book but it looks very interesting and he’d love it.
As we return to the campground we have the first of what turns out to be many close sightings of does and their fawns.
When we get back, we decide to pack a lunch and do one of the hikes that can actually be done from the campground. Most of the trailheads are along the drive itself. We pick Lewis Falls billed as a 4.2 mile circuit hike but hiking from the campground to the trail head will add another mile. We probably should have skipped the 3 miles down and back to the Wayside. Oh well.
Lewis Falls deserves a post of its own and I am out of time here at the Lodge so I’ll post this one, head out for another great day here where the predicted high temperature is 80 today in the late afternoon rather than a high of 90 down in Charlottesville. YES! What will the temperatures be by August if it’s already in the 90’s and it isn’t even Mid June?