First Snow Hike of January 2014

The weather up in the mountains sometimes surprises us with how different it is than the weather at home. On the 17th, we went for a hike, not expecting the cold weather, higher winds, and snow we found (we realized we hadn’t been to the mountains since September at the very latest).

When we got up to the entrance, we were surprised to find that only the central portion of Skyline Drive was open (it hadn’t snowed down in Charlottesville…or even rained recently). It turned out to be a really pretty drive. That plus the cold kept us in the car longer than we usually like (we’re usually in a hurry to get out and hike).

We did get to see some really cool stuff, like this cliff covered in ice. It was also nice that we were one of only a few cars on the road and we didn’t meet anyone on our hike (there were no parking lots that we passed that had more than two cars and most were empty).

The wildlife sightings were pretty incredible for this trip also. We actually did get out and hike and on the hike, we got some pretty close views of a couple of deer. There was also a bobcat as we were heading out that climbed up the cliff (there’s a picture of him in the album, but he’s kind of hard to see, so I didn’t include him here). On the way into the park, I got a quick view of an owl. I thought at first that it was a hawk, but quickly realized it was the wrong shape. If I’d recognized it sooner, I might have been able to stop in time for Tony to get to see it.

Moral of the story? Go to Shenandoah National Park after it snows. Especially since the roads have all been closed since then (though you are allowed to access the trails).

For more pictures (including the bobcat), click here.

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