Shenandoah to Luray

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August 20,2013

I told my hiking partners at Lake Louise that the good part about hiking up, was the return trip involved hiking down. Shenandoah was designed on the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountain. the many overlooks adjoining Skyline Drive, allow anyone in their Chevrolet (or any other make of vehicle) to see the panoramas without taking more than a few steps. the park literature does remind you, that there is much natural beauty to be observed beyond the parking lot, but it involves hiking down. which means of course, the return trip is hiking up.

Rose River Falls

Rose River Falls

We hiked down the Rose River trail, to see the falls, then we hiked along the river to see the Dark Hollow Falls. We had our lunch on large concrete block that proved the existence of habitation in the hollows long before the National Park. Later at the Visitor’s Center we learned it was the remains of a copper mine.

The remains of a copper mine where we had lunch

The remains of a copper mine where we had lunch

Then we hiked up, and up and up some more. I am not ashamed to say, that like Lake Louise, people considerably older than us, passed us more than once. But we made it again. The last leg of the hike consisted of a flat gently inclined road. I spotted a flag pole in a clearing and figured we had returned (although the parking lot where we started contained no flag pole) but no, we had reached the Cave Cementary. Cave referred to the name of the family buried there, not anything like Luray Caverns. The most recent grave was less than a year old and many graves had markers dating back to the Civil War. An explanatory plaque noted that more than half the graves were children. Eric peppered the rangers in the Visitor Center with so many questions about the Cementary, that she ran a documentary for us called The Gift.   It was about the people who “gave” the land to the government for the park. No editorial comments here. The rangers did tell us that there were more than twenty family cemeteries in the park and that families had the right to maintain them. I guess its okay to be a dead resident in the park, not a live one (oops no editorial comments allowed)

Cave Cemetery on the Dark Hollows Fall Trail

Cave Cemetery on the Dark Hollows Fall Trail

A grave stone in the Cave Cemetery

A grave stone in the Cave Cemetery

The grandparents we met the day before had told us about a reasonably priced pleasant little motel, The Hillside, on route 211 the road that led out of the park. After one last overlook session, which involved me photographing a lot of insects, we left Shenandoah.

A cooperative butterfly

A cooperative butterfly

Not far from the motel the Page County Agricultural Fair was going on. So that became our evening activity.

Page County Agricultural Fair(Eric thinks it looks like Something Wicked This Way Comes)

Unlike the Queens County Farm Fair (yes it does exist) the Page County Agricultural Fair is just that. A very little girl looked longingly at her pumpkin on display and was told. no she couldn’t take it home, they had brought it there to be judged. Weary teenagers hung out with the cattle and hogs, some listening to hip hop, some to Christian Rock. We passed the fraternal order of police whose raffle advertised a prize of a four night Tennessee Vacation- in a premium cabin. There was no one was there to take my money so I didn’t have to debate whether or not to purchase a ticket. I played some Bingo, didn’t win, and ended the evening at the Star Family Circus. On a trip to Russia, we attended a performance of the Moscow Circus. Eric recalled the family (also tourists as evidenced by their North American accented English) behind us being horrified that the circus contained animal acts. The Star Family Circus had only human performers, but Eric wondered if the Russian bears had it any worse than the woman who raced a motorcycle around an iron dome, frequently checking the carburetor and wheels for safety, during the performance at the county fair.  Who knows? I don’t speak Russian, I can’t ask the bear.

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