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

Henry David Thoreau

Lewis Mountain Top

Wedesday May 23, 2018                                                             Most Recent Posts:
Lewis Mountain Campground                                                        More Wonder Headed North
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia                                             Celia Turns Two

At the exact spot where the AT comes to the campground there are actually 3 directions you can go.  I’ve gone to the right *south”, to the left “north” and now I’m going straight ahead and UP.  I’m going to the top of Lewis Mountain for which the campground is named.


In one section, wild azalea lines the path



Seeing such bright pink in the midst of all the green is always such a great surprise.



When I reach the top I know this first view is not the only one but you’d really have to know that since the path between them is well grown over.


The second view is my favorite.     Love those rolling Blue Ridges.

I’m looking East toward Madison County Virginia.


It’s a lovely spot to stay a while and I do.  It’s an easy 1 mile hike from the campground which I do nearly every day either in the morning or the evening.


This is not a loop hike.  It’s an  out and back retracing the same way I came up.  Many folks prefer loops.  They don’t want to travel the same route back.  I’ve always been convinced that it’s not the same trail if you are going a different direction and today really proves me right in spades.

Coming up I did not see these lovely yellow lady slippers but they jump right out at me on my way back.



I’m back at the bottom now and headed for another section of the AT between Bearfence Mountain and Bootens Gap.


I find a nice big tree to hug.

Some lovely little white and purple violets with more road markers pointing the way.


With all the rain we’ve had, everything is green and wild looking.  If it weren’t for all the feet the trail would be over grown as it gets narrower and narrower from the overgrowth.


I think these may be wood poppies.


But what interested me most was this close up shot of the over reaching Daddy Long Legs.  Wonder what he’s reaching for?  Can you see his thread thin legs?

The wildflower of this hike was the False Solomon Seal.  In a previous post I showed the Solomon Seal.  Both have long arching stems and look almost identical.  But the Solomon Seal has bell shapped flowers that hang down from the stem underneath.  The False Solomon Seal has one cluster at the end of the long stem.



Today I see them everywhere and their clusters are all different.


Pretty hard to tell them apart when their flowers are gone.  At least for me.


Not sure why millipedes always make me laugh.  Maybe it’s the visual of all those little feet marching in a row.  Of course they don’t have 1000 feet but still it’s a funny image.  Apparently there a many many types of milipedes in different colors and they’ve been around for thousands of years.  Who knew?


There are often giant rocks along the way.  I know they aren’t glacial eratics, the glaciers didn’t reach here so I suppose they are simply the bones of Mother Earth weathered into view.


I also showed a picture of the dark brown Squaw Root in a previous post.  Today I come upon the lighter colored one.


It doesn’t produce chlorophyll.  It is parasitic on trees, mainly oaks for its nutrition.


IMG_3847The Appalachian Trail is a simply beautiful trail wherever I hike it.

Once upon a time I wanted to through hike the AT from Georgia to Maine and read all the through hiker journals I could get my hands on,  really researched it and started making a plan.  But then I realized that push hiking just isn’t my style and I’d feel like I was missing a lot having to make a certain number of miles each day.  I am seldom after the “goal” but rather just what I can find along the way.

So now I just wander the trail to my heart’s content.  Although I admit, I’m still looking for my first black bear this visit.   In 2015 I saw quite a few but we were here longer than we’ll be this year.  Still, I keep looking.  One day soon, I’ll be lucky.


  1. A great hike and I notice you do not mention any bugs? If you need a black bear sighting, you can come to my backyard. I could proably sell tickets:(

  2. Oooooo! It's so pretty and green so I guess the rain did do something good. The flowers are pretty but I can't share your appreciation for the millipede. All those legs just give me the willies..... Gna!

  3. Have to agree... all the rain has really made things green and the trails are a bit narrower here in The Smokys also:o)) I'm with you...it's about the journey and love hikes both way!!!

  4. I was curious about bugs too. Not the crawlies, but the airborne kind. You photos look so cool and green and refreshing,

  5. Beautiful shots! One of the photobloggers I follow lives in that area, so I'm quite used to shots from around the Shenandoah.

  6. So rich with color after all that rain. I know you are right about the trail being different depending on the direction, which is so true in the course of life as well. As your great Aunt Carrie often reminded us how different everything would be if we could just live our lives in the other direction, starting out old and getting younger each day. Can I turn around now? I'm looking forward to seeing the flame azaleas in the Smokies. ;)

  7. All the flowers bloom in such sharp contrast to the lush green. I don't mind walking a trail both ways as there is always something different along the way. It would take me a lifetime to through hike anywhere.

  8. Your "wood poppies" are in the buttercup family with large showy flowers that typically have four petals... very pretty

  9. Love those delicate azaleas - especially the gauzy pic of their beautiful blooms. Changing directions is like changing seasons. Always something new to see and appreciate. The lookout is so beautiful, and nice to have a place to stretch your eyes outside the forest. Milipedes freak me out - give me a spider on a flower any day ;-)

  10. I'm with you—enjoying the journey along the way and stopping to admire the flowers, the birds, and the views is the most important thing. We prefer hikes between 5 and 10 miles, so it would take us a couple of years to complete the Appalachian Trail. :-) Love the wild azaleas—are they fragrant, like the wild azaleas in Florida?

  11. I think here in Northern Utah I have seen those Solomon flowers :) But you know hikes in the Shenandoah and in the Utah wilderness are most identical except of course the humidity. I see wildflowers here that I have seen in the Appalachian too but no Azaleas :(

  12. I remember 2015...wasn't it six bears we saw in one day? I so enjoyed the time we spent at Big Meadows. It was a big step forward for me at that point in my life.

  13. Beautiful..so green and the azaleas are lovely! Great shot of the daddy long legs and what a perfect tree to hug!


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