Sunday, October 12, 2008

Civilian Conservation Corps and Shenandoah National Park

Every fall for the last 25 years Jack and I make an October weekend trip to Shenandoah National Park. We always try to leave very early so we can see the little towns in the valleys coming awake with home lights being turned on and the low lying fog in the hollows slowly rising as we head west on #66 to the Thorton Gap entrance to the park near Luray.

We used to pack the girls up with pillows and they would sleep till we got to the park's Skyland Resort Lodge (milepost 41) where we would have a big country breakfast of bacon, eggs, and hash brown pototoes with mugs of coffee and hot chocolate. Then we would continue thru the park stopping at many of the car pull off spots to view the trees, old mountains and deer. This top photo is a photo of the long sweep of windows overlooking The Big Meadows area of the park that has nice paths for hiking. Notice the bird cutouts on the windows to warn the birds of the glass windows.Here is another view of The Big Meadows. What is all that red plant life? That's a field of blueberries with leaves turning red!
Here is a bronze statue to commemorate the men of the Civilian Conservation Corps who developed the park roads and buildings in the 1930's. This statue is at the entrance of the Harry Byrd Visitor Center at Big Meadows (milepost 51) If you click on this photo to enlarge it, you will see what I call "a motorcycle tricyle" with a couple roaring out from the Harry Byrd Visitor Center.
I think every biker with a bike was either coming or going to Shenandoah National Park. We saw the two couples who owned these two bikes having breakfast at Skyland Resort Lodge. They were sporting lots of black leather. They were from New York state and they were our age or a little older. The next photo explains further what I'm trying to say.
See the little plastic blue doughnut that one biker was using to cushion the tush. What can I say but when you go down the road of life you just have to do what you have to do!
This was a nice view that prompted Jack to pull over for a photo opt moment.
Of course, we met many amateur as well as professional photographers doing the very same thing. This gentleman asked Jack to move our car because we were blocking his shot. I guess he didn't want a little white Honda in the nature photo.
Shenandoah Park has a lot of rock formations and springs which makes for a very scenic landscape but not good farming land. That was the reason the people who owned this land were "dirt poor" or should I say "rock poor". The granite stone that you find on Old Rag Mt. (I just love that name!) is over a billion years old!
As you climb higher and higher up the mountain road your ears will pop and when you finally pop once again out of the warm car you then need a light jacket because the temperature has dropped. That's me all bundled up taking in the view.
The Skyland Lodge Resort Dining Room is a great place to view the trees while having your breakfast. You feel like you are dining in a tree house. Tomorrow I will post more park photos, a movie of Dinah Shore and give you some history of this famous national park east of the Mississippi River.


The Texican said...

Well J and J, you would really appreciate the need for such devices if you ever road a big motorcycle on a long distance trip. There are many devices and powders to prevent and relieve what is known as "Monkey Butt" in motorcycle jargon. Great post. Pappy

Jack and Joann said...

Monkey Butt! Oh, my goodness. I think my little Jack Aidan sometimes gets that and he hasn't rode a motorcycle yet. Thanks for coming by Pappy!

fishing guy said...

Joann: What really neat captures of the park. You have done a great job of capturing a wonderful area.