Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Big Meadows Campground-Shenandoah National Park

Monday June 8 and Tuesday Morning June 9, 2015
Big Meadows Campground
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia





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”.  Smile












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?


  1. glad you guys got all settled in. . .we've been making do with whatever internet service is available for a few stops now. . .it's so worth it though. . .enjoy your time!

  2. Glad you found a nice park to sit in and be cool. We got rid of our rain here in Montana, now it's trending warmer, but not too bad. Love the s'more shirt :)

  3. Never been to Virginia or the Carolinas. Looks like a beautiful park to spend your time.

  4. Too hot, too soon! Glad you found a bit of a retreat from it. Sharing with the sweet little fawns too...

  5. Those zero gravity chairs remind me of being in a dentist's chair. :P Give me a rocker any day!

  6. Great to hear David is still up for hiking! He's amazing! Beautiful scenery and nice temps. Enjoy!

  7. You're right, nothing seems to be made to last these days. We have chairs that are duct taped just like yours. Maybe all things breaking so much is a conspiracy by duct tape manufacturers? ;c)

  8. That poor Ranger has probably had a lot of visitors ask for refunds when they change their minds. But oh well, you're there where it's cooler. Nice neighbors.

  9. I can't believe how hot it is (early) and all the rain! So glad your awning held up during the rain.

  10. So glad you were able to get up in the mountains:o)) We are having rain here also, but it is cooler where we are in NY. Checked Acadia and the highs are in the 60's next week!!! Guess I'll just have to get my cuddles out;o))

    Love your last photo of the Doe and Fawns:o)) Those are really young fawns!!!

  11. You can always make lemonade out of those lemons! Love the "stoked" shirt, and that book does look interesting. Have a good time.

  12. I'd be happy spending the entire summer in 60 degree temps! It is so hard to get out and enjoy yourself actively when the temps are in the 80's and 90's!

    I sure wish they'd bring back something like the CCC these days...though I suppose that would raise park rates dramatically!

  13. Love the new chairs. So glad you were able to get back to the park and set up before the storm. Even more glad that your deer have checked in early to welcome you, and even shared their newest gifts :-) Love the Stoked shirt, will have to keep an eye open for that one. I used to purchase something in every one of those stores, and it feels so freeing now to walk out without anything. Can you imagine how little the rangers who lived in that check in station purchased? You must have stumped us all with that cone flower - we'll just call it pretty for now :-)))))

  14. We can handle rain just for a day, but thunderstorms are a different story. Are those chairs comfortable?
    That is a great shot of the the Doe and her fawn!
    I wonder if we can get back or create a new kind of CCC :). That was such a great legacy of FDR which we are all now enjoying.

  15. Great pics again, love the deer. Getting high to be cool in your own state is a good idea. Looks like they have great parks to explore.
    Hope you enjoy your chairs as much as we like our pink and yellow ones in California.

  16. We parted ways with our zero gravity chairs a few days ago. They served their purpose for several years and we enjoyed them, but our lifestyle and needs have changed. Your new ones are cute! Picked up a couple of the chair-in-a-bag thing at Wallyworld today, the cheapies. They'll do for now. Your site looks nice!

  17. Looks like you have some great comfy new chairs. The ones we bought from LL Bean a couple of years ago are still holding up fine -- but who knows in three more years. The book you found on the CCC looks great! I think I'll pick up a copy for us, too. Let us know if you find out what that beautiful wildflower plume is.

  18. Love the deer mommy and her does! Beautiful and you got a great picture of them. Ilike the S'more Taster shirt. That wouldn't be a bad job!

  19. Nice new chairs!! It's always nice to spot a deer...and extra special to see fawns too :) Glad you are in the mountains. It is way too hot already! I've got the book on a list for Dad. Looks like an interesting read. The CCC really did some amazing things in the Parks!!


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