I went to Shenandoah National Park. I planned this for late October to coincide with the leaves turning to autumn colors as this is a sight that I do not see often living in central Texas. The park is in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia and has hundreds of miles of hiking trails, including the Appalachian Trail winding through, so it also offered this appeal. It is also part of my desire to visit several National Parks over the next couple of decades, and makes thirteen US National Parks I have visited in my life.

  • Big Bend
  • Guadalupe Mountains
  • Gateway Arch
  • Grand Canyon
  • Grand Teton
  • Hot Springs
  • Petrified Forest
  • Yellowstone
  • Great Sand Dunes
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Badlands
  • Shenandoah
  • Rocky Mountain

So, with a good trails map and my National Park Pass in hand, I prepared to set out for Shenandoah National Park.

My original plans for this trip didn’t really work out, but I still went there and made the best of things. My flight there (Austin to Dulles) started with a delay of about two and a half hours, which resulted in me arriving at the lodge about an hour before sunset. So, I had little time to do anything but climb to a nearby overlook and hope for the best. Below is a photo looking across the rocks to the blazing sun about to set in a mostly clear sky above the mountains.

I hung around this overlook with about a dozen other people waiting for a sunset that was destined to be unremarkable. But I did experiment with a tree with the sun peaking around the trunk. I liked the way it worked with the sun on the grass and rocks and I livened up the tree bark a little in Lightroom. I experimented with removing the blurry couple in Photoshop, but I decided that I like them there as maybe it tells more of an interesting story. They are a little blurry from the merge of multiple exposures to get the sun exposed correctly. Aperture stopped down to f/18 to get the sun star effect.

I stuck around after sunset to see what the sky would do, but it just faded from hazy brown to blue so I headed back to my room for the evening. I had three full days ahead of me to hike and enjoy the trails and (try to) take some photos. I set my alarm for a little after 6:00 AM to give myself time to be at an overlook well before the sunrise, I watched a baseball game, and went to bed.

I woke up, went to an overlook and saw the thick clouds on the horizon and knew that I’d probably end up with nothing for getting up this early. I like getting up early and getting out, so I wasn’t terribly disappointed. I had also randomly chosen this overlook based on it facing east and I found that I didn’t really like the view much anyway, so I learned that as well. Below is the unexciting sunrise and view from the Old Rag View overlook as the sun is rising behind thick clouds in the distance.

I went back to the lodge, had breakfast and looked at my park map planning my day of hikes, mainly on trails that have waterfalls. And as you’ll see, every hike in this park has a lot of elevation change, because the park runs along a mountain chain. Fortunately for me, I carry about 40 pounds of camera gear on my back to keep me from having too easy of a time. I hoped I was up to the challenge. I plan to post more tomorrow.

10 thoughts on “Shenandoah

  1. “making the best of things..” when things don’t go as planned. An important attitude to have in this crazy journey of life. 🙂
    I like the sun peeking around the tree. I I hiked with 40 pounds on my back I do not believe I would get very far and would probably not stay upright either. LOL!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I like your unexciting photos. I’ve never visited this park, but I can play “O Shenandoah” on my harmonica. I’ll bet it’s beautiful out there. Looking forward to more pictures, if your back can hold out.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that it should be immiscible( not permissable, see how your words expand my vocabulary) that he thinks his photos are “unexciting”. The sun peeking through the trees was my favorite, but his photos are always good, even his “unexciting” ones.

      Liked by 1 person

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