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Lands Run Falls

I was happy to have Indigenous People Day to get out for a short hike. I asked my daughter to go with me and she actually agreed to wake up early and go. This was exciting because it has been over a year since she’s gone hiking with me.  I told her we wouldn’t go too far and it would be pretty.  Check and check.

We woke up at 5:00 am to get to an overlook by sunrise.  Fortunately (or unfortunately) there was a lot of fog.  Since we would be in the North District for Shenandoah National Park for our hike, the overlooks were few and far between on the east side.  They get better as you head south in the park.  I found one and we waited. Finally, the sun came up and illuminated the fog.  I had not brought my 18-200 mm lens and wish I would have for this morning.  I could have gotten a better shot of the fog against the mountains.  My wide shot was okay but sometimes zooming in is also good in landscapes.

foggy sunrise 2

Morning Fog

morning

Overlook Illuminated

We drove back towards our hiking location as I worried about the sun being too bright for a waterfall.  As we started down our path, I was happy with the cover and the fact that the waterfall was located on the west side of the trail. This means the light wouldn’t reach it for a couple of hours.  The hike to Lands Run Falls is very short. It took us no more than 10 mins or so to reach the falls (or the first part of the falls).  Some fall colors were showing and leaves were scattered around the rocks.  This made for great photos.

I am normally alone when I hike but having my daughter with me allowed me to crawl down the rocks. She handed my tripod to me and I took photos from further down. I debated going farther down the rocks but they were slippery and there was no way my daughter would know if I fell (the falls were that loud).  I took some shots and whistled loudly.  Thankfully, she appeared.  I handed her my tripod again and climbed back up the rocks.  As I climbed up, I knew I wouldn’t have made it alone.

waterfall

Towards the bottom of the first drop

cascade2

Cascades at the top

The falls were really pretty.  I think that if we had continued down the trail we would have come to more falls but I kept my promise.  We hiked back up to the car.  The whole hike took about an hour. Super short and sweet.  On our way home, we traveled through the Virginia countryside.  My girl is a lover of small, quaint towns. We drove through The Plains, Virginia and on towards Loudoun County.  We had a wonderful time chatting and driving slow.

I get to go back to Shenandoah soon and I’m hoping the trees are popping with color. Fingers crossed.

Is It Spring Yet?

I hate cold weather. I don’t mind end of October when it is like in the 50s & 60s. I mind when it dips down to low 40s and below. I grew up in Michigan so I always get asked, “Don’t you like the cold?”  Nope.  I am writing this with a coat and large, bulky sweater covering my lap because my office is so incredibly cold.

I have a tradition of going hiking on Veteran’s Day. It is a day I have off of work but my kids still have school. I enjoy having the day to myself. This year, I almost didn’t go. I woke up and it was cold. Too cold.  I got up and decided I would at least drive to Shenandoah to see if the colors had improved. I also wanted to stop at Buck Hallow Trail to photograph the stream that runs through that trail since it had rained a lot earlier in the week.

While I was photographing the stream it wasn’t too bad. I had on my hat, coat and gloves and was fine. If I had been hiking I would have been nice and warm.  I figured, “Why not go and find a hike?”  I drove along Skyline Drive wondering which trail to visit. I kept referring to my map and wasn’t deciding on anything.  I started on one trail and the wind just about blew me off the mountain. I turned right around and went back to my car.  Eventually I happened upon Little Stony Man. I got out and looked at the sign.  It was a short hike to the view point so I decided that would be my hike. As I walked up the side of the mountain I warmed up nicely. The wind was minimal in that location. It only took me a few minutes to reach the Little Stony Man lookout area.  And that’s when the wind hit me. It was far stronger than the other trail because you’re basically standing on the side of a mountain with no coverage. This is also the first time I’ve been on a rock formation in Shenandoah and didn’t want to look over. I presume this is why people go to climb. e

View from Little Stony Man

Skyline Drive from Little Stony Man

 

 

I took a few photos and headed back to my car.  I blasted the heater and drove home.  As I was driving I decided to stop at Ellanor C Lawrence Park. Someday I will explore more of this park as I generally hang around the creek and pond.  The wind was still blowing but because of coverage it wasn’t too bad. I wandered around looking for something to photograph. I found a cool trail that I will probably explore at a different time. I was just too cold so I headed back towards my car.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a Blue Heron. They are probably my favorite bird. I have quite a few good photos of them.  I went in all directions to photograph this bird. I got pretty close and have some beautiful shots of just its head.

Eventually I decided I would leave the bird alone and made my way back to my car.  Because I hadn’t done a big hike I had time left in my day to relax.  I do enjoy hiking in the winter. I like that posion ivy dies and I have more confidence to go off trail. I like finding birds without the leaves on the trees.  But I really want spring to return because I am already tired of being cold.