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Foggy Meadow and Moving On

Monday and Tuesday May 28 and 29, 2018                                                   Most Recent Posts
Big Meadows Campground                                                                             Laurel Prong        
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia                                                              Summer Solstice


IMG_4093My hike to Rapidan Camp was cut short by rain on Saturday and it is still drizzling all day long today as it did yesterday.  I’m getting serious cabin fever with this chilly rainy situation.   I decide to drive up to Big Meadows and check out the campground for a move tomorrow.  On my way up I become part of a Deer Jam along the Skyline Drive. 

I’ve already looked for a resevation at Big Meadows but everything is already reserved for Fridays and Saturdays all summer and fall so the only choice if you want to stay more than about 4 days is to hope for a walk in. 

There aren’t a lot of walk ins and among those even fewer that are long enough, level enough and have enough sky opening for our solar panels.   There was no fog on the way up here as my roadside picture shows but once I climbed up to Big Meadows it was thick.


Of course not much solar even in a good spot on a day as foggy as this.  The deer are around the campground a lot and pay no attention to the campers but it’s fun for the kids.  Not sure why they have this gal collared but it looks rather heavy.

I find that my favorite site that has all of the requirements is taken for the next 5 days so in order to be sure of having a spot, I sign up for 6 nights in the only other one available that will work.  Very glad I came up today rather than waiting until tomorrow when the one I took might not have been available. 

I put my beach chair out along with the ticket on the post to show this site is taken.  Checkiing with the rangers I find that if you’ve paid for the site you do not have to set up immediately.  So I’m good to go.

The fog has lifted a bit so I decide to walk the trail from the campground down to Skyline Drive and across to Big Meadow to see how it is in the fog and drizzle that has  now come big time to the campground.  

Good thing you can always see at least a few feet in front of you in the fog even if you can’t see a bear down the path.   HA!



The deer looks up when I stop but pays me no mind.


Not sure why she was nibbling on the dead branch of this tree but she gave me “the stink eye”, like “hey what’re you lookin’ at”.


Wild flowers carpet both sides of the trail through the abandonded apple orchard.  I’ve always wondered why the park didn’t prune these trees for the apples for people and wildlife.  This area was farmed for years before the park and some evidence of that use should be left IMO.  Apples would be good.



It’s a fun little trail to walk.  I’m not sure where the stream that comes in from the side originates but it flows down to Dark Hollow Falls to which this trail will also take you.



At this point the trail goes straight to Dark Hollow Falls or you can go down to the right, cross this pretty bridge and walk up to the visitor center.


The Big Meadow is across the Skyline Drive from the Visitor Center.  Their picture windows over look it.  So I go down to cross the bridge and by the time I get there, as you can see, the fog has descended.   Less than a minute.  Pretty Cool!


Looking across Skyline Drive, I can barely see the meadow.  It’s also started to sprinkle again and that’s a water drop on the picture.


Of course it’s usually not so foggy that you can’t see 10 feet in front of you so I follow one of the paths through the meadow.


Anything that isn’t some shade of green really shows up.  This is red Wood Betony.  It is the first of several plants I have previously seen on wooded walks to show up here in the full sun meadow.  I find that interesting that they can thrive in such different degrees of sunlight.




The fog seems to be lifting at least a little


Close up the petals here look too narrow for cinquefoil or meadow buttercup but what else is yellow with 5 petals?



The fog has lifted and I head over to investsigate this large white patch.


Mmmmm, someone s going to have some good eating when these flowers turn to berries and ripen.


Wonder if they will see bears in the meadow then.  I won’t be here in mid summer for that.


This is a huge patch of what look like blueberries.  Boy the meadow is getting more and more yummy.



I look up and the fog is covering the blackberries already.  Coming toward me.


Fogged out tree.


This is what I call the bird bath stone.  More on it later


These flowers look like wild azaleas but the bushes are much shorter than the ones I’ve seen in the woods.  Wish I were a better botonist.  Is there a meadow azalea?



I walk on closer to the trees.


As I walk, it’s as if I am pushing the fog away from the little tree grouping.


Meadow Hawkweed I recognize.



There are random rocks in the meadow.  This one looks like a natural birdbath to me.  It’s clearer now than in the previous picture.   Things change by the minute, sometimes by the second.


I suppose these bluets might get enough shade from the tall grasses here and enough sun in the woods to be at home either place.


There is a fire road that runs along the top ridge of the meadow which most people take since the parking area is at its head but it doesn’t get you really INTO the meadow which is what I want.  These folks thought they’d come out for a little bit but I guess the rain is chasing them away.   It’s not heavy, but it comes and goes like the fog.  I actually really like it and being here in this changing environment.


Here’s about as clear a picture of one direction in the meadow as I’ve had today.


Here’s the first clear picture looking back at the Visitor’s Center and a lone car on the Skyline Drive.  Week days are great!


The rain has stopped momentarily and it’s pretty clear so I decide to walk further into the meadow and over to a large outcropping of rock that I know of.   I have to be careful to watch the color of the paths.  When they get green like this it won’t be long before you are in standing water.



The rocks are up hill from the water which I skirt around.


I make it there but then it starts to rain again.  I’m the only one in the meadow and I’m sure I stand out in my BLUE raincoat.  Notice rain spots in the picture.  That’s about the only way you can really tell it’s raining.  The fog isn’t back yet and the sky has been pretty much white all day.  I am having a wonderful time.


But it isn’t long until I see the fog coming back.  There’s that lone tree that was almost invisible earlier.  I watch the fog come toward me.




As I’m leaving the meadow I see what I’m guessing must be some sort of fleabane.  There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of different plants in the meadow over the seasons.  The fog is coming after me but my pictures of the fleabane close up give no clue.



I love walkinig in the meadow.  You can just follow the paths back and forth up and down for hours and see glory all around. Distant views, close up wonders. Here it is definitely the little things that count.


By the time I walk back up the trail to the campground to get Ruby, the fog has taken over and my drive back the seven miles to Lewis Mountain is in total fog out.

Were it not for the yellow lines down the center of Skyline Drive I would have had to wait until the fog lifted to drive back.   And that would have been a very long time as the fog settled in over night and didn’t lift until the next day.  But that didn’t stop my neighbors from having a campfire in the rain.

Sadly when we bring Winnona up to Big Meadow campground the next day someone has stolen my chair.  I’ve seen others leave chairs in  a site to save it many times and I’m seriously disappointed about losing my chair and in the idea of theft in our National Parks. Yes I know, maybe someone thought I’d forgotten it and  left but they should have taken it to the ranger station in case I came back for it.



  1. Sigh. Sorry about your chair. Hope it wasn't a favorite one. I keep remembering you out west and how that bright dry sun just about blinded you and after awhile you were missing your green soft eastern forests and meadows. I would tire of the fog for sure, and have never loved it the way that you seem to love it. Even at the ocean the fog gets to me. It surely does make for some green meadows and lots of flowers though. You are good at finding beauty everywhere and sharing it.

  2. Drat on the chair.

    The mist and fog adds a lovely element to these pics-beautiful shots!

    Odds are the radio collar on the deer is meant to keep track of her as a representative sample of the deer population in the area.

  3. Must of taken a long time to make that rock a natural bird bath:)

  4. I love fog but have never seen it come and go in a single day like that - awesome!! The tree in the foggy meadow is beautiful. I've never learned the names of flowers and envy your knowledge. Meadows are my favorite places, thanks for taking me to this one.

  5. Your photos of the fog are magical! The meadow looks like a beautiful place to explore—so many wildflowers, and so many berries, come summer. That certainly looks like a wild azalea to me. You look so delighted to be out walking, fog/rain/whatever!

  6. Maybe the rangers have your chair because you left it overnight. I'd check with them if I were you. They may have a rule about leaving things in an empty space when there's no reservation for the night. When camping with a group, I generally arrived early and put chairs in sites that other gals had reserved, but it was on the same day. I never had anything stolen.

    I camped in Big Meadow for about two weeks 7-8 years ago. It's a very special place as we can see by your pictures, Sherry. I read, just recently, that the RVing population has grown in leaps and bounds. I can remember having some Georgia State Parks to myself for the week. The last time I camped, I called months ahead of time, and still couldn't get my favorite spot. In fact there were only two spots left. The fee has gone up, as well.

    I love the fog, as well. Makes things seem mysterious. I have seen wild azaleas, but they must come in different colors because the one I saw was peach color.

    1. I did check with them and they have a place where they keep things people have left and it wasn't there. I did reserve the spot for the night and paid for it which they said was fine if I did not come until the next day.

    2. I hope that this never becomes the norm. I've never found anything but nice, honest people camping. Maybe it's getting too crowded--so much easier to dry camp in the west.

  7. Wonderful walk in the meadow!!! We are having dido weather here in the GRSM...the rain and fog rolls in and out. Fortunately, we have only got caught in one downpour:-)

    In the summer, weekends are best left to the weekenders...just too many people. Aren't we lucky that we can choose to do that!!!

  8. Sorry about the chair. Your day brings back good memories of our many visits to Skyline and Big Meadow. We’ve had fog ... but nothing like this with the fog moving in and out.

  9. While hiking in the fog isn't ideal, it made for amazing photos. You certainly made the best of playing hide and seek with the fog:) Love the happy camper selfie in the foggy mist. Sorry about your chair:(

  10. Great photos of one of my favorite places. Everything is so beautiful in the fog.

  11. You are the only person I know brave and happy to hike in a fog. When we were there a couple of years ago, the big meadow was our destination but turned around due to fog. Sherry, you certainly made a day out of a blah day and you took good pictures of fog coming after you. I feel like I was hiking with you on a foggy day.

  12. Regarding your question: we have had quite some rain but have not had any real flooding or damage..luckily:)

  13. I wouldn't enjoy fog as a steady diet but it has it's own beauty. Makes the land seem soft and inviting. Your photos caught the feel. Dang lousy about your chair. Campers aren't usually thieves, especially in national parks.

  14. So annoying about the chair. I really wish the rangers had it. Oh well. Beautiful meadow hike. I think I'd prefer it in the rain. No bugs!! The fog is so mysterious.

  15. So sorry to hear about dishonest people. I see you haven't found it yet by your next post. Drat!


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