Shenandoah National Park July 11

We woke early, turned over and went back to sleep.  Vacation is great, especially when you have a loose schedule.  The plan for today was to get to Loft Mountain Campground and see the sights.  Cereal and coffee started the day, we broke camp, and it’s getting easier all the time, and headed south.  We hit all the overlooks and drove through Lewis Mountain Campground.  The camp seemed mostly 1930’s style family cabins.  We continued south and at Eaton Hollow Overlook we spotted what I thought to be a fishing lure at the top of f tree.  I know that doesn’t make any sense, but that’s what it looked like.  Turned out it was a bird.  It stayed there and sang for a long time, so long that I was able to change out lenses to get a better picture, and then return for the video camera.  No video, it flew.  A quick reference in the bird book, and Lo!, it was an Indigo Bunting.  A beautiful bird that somehow glowed blue/turquoise with a very sweet song.  We really enjoyed its presence.

Off for some more touring, a quick stop, for a side of the road run the generator for tuna on toast, and eventually off to the Loft Mountain Campsite.

Checked in and met the first cranky ranger of the trip and then went to the site.  Checked out the site, the camp store, bought two almost local beers by the Devils Backbone Brewing Company in Virginia, an IPA and a lager.  Later at dinner the IPA was the better of the two, but not good enough to bring home, and the Lager was flat in taste, not good enough to bring home for Pete.  While leaving the store a camper commented on the View and indicated that there was another in the campground on loop E.

We drove as far south as the Trayfoot Mountain Overlook.  While there we heard two Indigo Buntings calling and answering.  One of the birds was close, but we couldn’t find it.  Eventually the bird perched in the big dead tree about a hundred feet from us and gave a beautiful concert.  I had plenty of opportunity to take pictures from a distance.

Being both a little tired from the day before, we opted not to find a hike to take, so we spent the majority of the day sightseeing.  The woods differ noticeably from the upper, northern portion of the drive.  I didn’t specifically note the types of trees in the northern part, but they seemed to taller, more evergreens, more hemlocks and fewer low oaks.  The forest to the south seems half the height of the forest to the north.

I found the owners of the View, Bill and Beth Peterson from Richmond, VA.  They have a new 2012 Winnebago View.  We talked about the hunt to find one and the experience of buying one, and they purchased theirs for a great price.  It’s a beautiful unit and they are planning on going out to spend time with family on the west coast.

At our site the set up took no time.  We made some macaroni salad, sauerkraut and grilled kielbasa and watched the fog roll in like a movie.  Louise couldn’t place it but eventually thought it was like scenes from ‘JurassicPark’.  It started to rain, and we felt sorry for the people in the tents since we’d been there in the past.  I worked on the itinerary for the next couple of days and discovered that I didn’t place us south enough for tomorrow night, so Friday will prove to be an epic travel day.  The reservation is prepaid, so we can arrive at any time.  Additionally, the camping  site is on the northern portion of the GreatSmokyMountainNational Park, and not the southern section like I thought.  You don’t learn by doing nothing.