Monday, October 7, 2013

Shenandoah National Park

While we were in Virginia, we spent a day visiting Shenandoah National Park.  This park is long and narrow with a 105 mile road, Skyline Drive, running from one end of it to the other.  The road follows along the mountain ridges, so expect temperatures to possibly be much cooler...we didn't take this into consideration and we were FREEZING!  I guess spending so much time in Florida has made us lose our South Dakota resistance to the cold :).

We entered the park on the south end of Skyline Drive.  There is a booth there to pay an entrance fee, we were able to get in using our National Parks Pass - this thing has paid for itself several times already, I highly recommend getting one if you visit many NP sites. 

a lizard with a blue tail...he was fast!

There are plenty of pull offs all along the drive, perfect for soaking in the beautiful views...

After a while, we came to the first facilities.  There were a couple of stores and such all grouped together.  We were told by the lady at the entrance that this would be where we could get Jr. Ranger books.  Ok, so we went in the store and sure enough...they were selling the books.  Wait a minute...back in Great Smoky Mtn. NP they told us the books were for purchase because the entrance was free.  The entrance to Shenandoah NP is not free and neither are the books.  Hmm...I'm beginning to see that the parks each just do what ever they want fee wise...some places everything is free, others everything has a fee, at some it is a mix.  I guess it would be smart to look online before going to each place and then there would be no surprises that could ruin your day if you were short on cash.  So anyway, we purchased our books and got on with our day :).

We drove for a while more, stopping frequently to get out and walk around for a few minutes (until we became chilled, it really was cold!).

When we came to the Big Meadows Visitor Center, we all got out to explore and for the kids to finish up their books.  This vc is really nice.  They have a room with three different movies playing on a loop.  There was also a nice exhibit area with lots to read about and study. 

jr. rangering...and freezing!

When the kids were ready, the Rangers were very friendly and gladly issued their badges and certificates. 

One Ranger in particular was super nice, Ranger Mike.  After talking to us about our travels, he gave us parents what he called "The Ranger Mike -Are We There Yet?- Award", hahaha!  That's great :D...

After leaving the vc, we only went just a bit further before we called it a day and turned around.  We ended up going about half way, 50 or so miles, of the drive.  Next time, we will definitely go more prepared (jackets and better shoes) to get out and walk some trails!

Big Meadows

I wonder where that little trail leads...

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