Shenandoah National Park

I recently spent a few days in Shenandoah National Park and camped for two nights.  I drove the entire length of the park via Skyline Drive  (105 miles) and stopped at several of the 75 lookouts to take in the views.  Unfortunately it was very foggy and rainy for most of my visit in the park, but I still got to see a lot and enjoy a new park.

This was also my first time camping for more than a night all by myself and I have to say, it was BORING.  I did get a lot of reading in and got creative with picture taking, but nothing beats having someone with you to play cards with on your down time while camping.

To get this post started off, let’s see a video of just how rainy it was my first day in the park.

I did get out of the van after filming this video so I could use the restroom and get my park passport book stamped.  By the time I made it back to the van I was drenched.  I had to stop at another pull out down the road and change my clothes it was so bad.

And now for the pictures:

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Beautiful viewsNCAdventureWeek 116

 

View of the rainy roadNCAdventureWeek 122

There were lots of bunnies in the park.NCAdventureWeek 127

When you are bored and stuck in the van you take pictures of your feet. NCAdventureWeek 129

Me in the Ramblin’ Van at the campsite. NCAdventureWeek 132

You also get really creative with keeping the bugs out and letting air in.  I took the netting for my EZ up and made a screen for the van door.  It worked.  I had airflow and no bugs.  NCAdventureWeek 136

This guy made a home within 20 minutes of me being in the campground.  He also hung on for the ride back to Asheville.  NCAdventureWeek 137

More ViewsNCAdventureWeek 140

Being here made me actually want to hike the Appalachian Trail.  I’m sure I would totally change my mind after the first day, but the thought was nice.  NCAdventureWeek 141

More ViewsNCAdventureWeek 142

I don’t know why, but I really liked this tree. NCAdventureWeek 145

Here is the visitor center when it is not in the middle of a downpour.  NCAdventureWeek 150

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The view isn’t too bad today.  NCAdventureWeek 156

The Ramblin’ Van stopped at one of the many lookouts NCAdventureWeek 160

More bunniesNCAdventureWeek 163

My campNCAdventureWeek 164

I was in the van reading and I heard a kinda crash come out of the bushes.  I sat up and looked out the window and saw this run by.  NCAdventureWeek 166

The next day I was walking to the restroom and was looking at my phone when something startled me.  It was this deer.  She was standing on the side of the road and jumped in the bushes to hide when I walked by her.  This picture cracks me up.  NCAdventureWeek 170

Hiding deerNCAdventureWeek 167

Did I mention there were a lot of bunnies around this place?NCAdventureWeek 175

Here is one of the creative pictures I was talking about.  I read a solo travelers blog that talked about creative ways to make sure you were in some of the photos of your adventures.  This was one of my takes on that. NCAdventureWeek 177

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Ready for another day!

Ready for another day!

 

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Talus SlopesNCAdventureWeek 186

 

 

What happened in June?

Where did the month of June go?  What did I do in June?  Well, let’s see…

I had a house sit in Asheville, NC.  This housesit was broken up into two time periods; June 8 -16 and then again from June 24 – July 3.  I took care of two sweet little cats, Dali (pronounced “Dolly”) and June.  This sit was supposed to last until the 8th, but as I have learned from living this life of travel, things change and you have to be flexible.

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The House

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Dali

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June

While in Asheville, my friend Alex came to visit.  He was on a cross country drive from Virgina Beach, VA to San Diego, CA.  By the time this post is published he should be in California.  It was great to see an old friend and share travel stories.

Me & Alex in Asheville, NC

Me & Alex in Asheville, NC

Another notable thing I found in Asheville was this super fun entrance to the park in my neighborhood:

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On my week off from house sitting in Asheville I went on an adventure.  I camped next to this Lake:

NCAdventureWeek 017It was beautiful, but it was REALLY hot that day and sleeping in the van was not pleasant.  Also, directly to the right in this picture, just right out of frame, is a large man with no shirt on in a canoe fishing.  Another not so beautiful thing at this campground was the restroom.  It was gross, I will leave it at that.

I also visited the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, NC.

NCAdventureWeek 022 NCAdventureWeek 061It was another HOT North Carolina day, but the zoo was amazing!  I was there for work, but had plenty of time to play and see the exhibits.

“Approximately 500 acres of this property have been developed into one of the largest “natural habitat” zoos in the United States.  You won’t find cages made of steel and concrete here.  Our animals are given enclosures that mimic their natural habitats to include trees, ponds, rocks, grass and dirt. ” -taken from the NC Zoo website

I also visited Fayetteville, NC and then headed up to see my friend Angela in Vienna, VA.  After that I headed to Shenandoah National Park to camp for two nights.  This is most of what I saw during my time in the park:

NCAdventureWeek 105Yep, not too impressive.  The first day I was there, this was the view from every turnout.  Even the second day, when things seemed a lot clearer, my pictures still turned out grey and gloomy.  I may not have many pictures to show for it (okay, I kinda do), but the experience of driving thru the park was awesome.  There were bunnies and deer everywhere.  I think I’ll be doing a separate post just on Shenandoah.  Keep an eye on the blog for that post later this week (possibly tomorrow).  Here are a few more pictures from the park for now:

Better views on day two

Better views on day two

Bunny in my camp

Bunny in my camp

My campsite i

My campsite

A deer jumped into my camp.

A deer jumped into my camp.

The view of the campground out my back window.

The view of the campground out my back window.

After Shenandoah National Park I drove thru the Blue Ridge Parkway and camped there for a night before heading back to Asheville.  It was a beautiful and relaxing drive and my campground that night was pretty and peaceful.  It was interesting because it was pretty much in someones back yard and the only other guests were a biker and an old lady from Minnesota that was sleeping in her car.

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View from the Blue Ridge Parkway

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View from one of the visitor centers along the parkway.

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Collection of buildings representing mountain farms of the nineteenth century

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The Ramblin’ Van on the Parkway

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Campsite off the Blue Ridge Parkway

I’ll be leaving Asheville in a few days and already have lots of plans for what’s next.  I plan to spend the 4th of July in Philadelphia with friends and then head up to my next house sit in Nova Scotia!  I’m excited for that one.  I will be crossing four more states off my list of places to visit and Nova Scotia off my bucket list.  After Nova Scotia I will be headed to Stony Brook, NY for another house sit and then Muddy Roots at the end of the summer.  The next few months are going to be full of adventure!  I can’t wait to share it all with you!