Shenandoah National Park

The Park's brochure starts off with a statement, "Mountaintops have always beckoned humans.  To stand at the top - to see as far as the eye allows, to take in the vastness of our world - is to be awed and humbled and inspired all at once."  A great description of the way we felt as we traveled on Skyline Drive.

Both times we visited the Park we were blessed with mostly cloudy skies.  Sometimes a light rain passed overhead.

Both times we visited the Park we were blessed with mostly cloudy skies.  Sometimes a light rain passed overhead.

Again from the brochure, "From the beginning, national park planners, capitalizing on the popularity of motor cars, called for Shenandoah's 'greatest single feature' to be a sky-line drive on which motorists could enjoy a leisurely drive through the Blue Ridge and where they could experience the awe and inspiration of magnificent views."

Again from the brochure, "From the beginning, national park planners, capitalizing on the popularity of motor cars, called for Shenandoah's 'greatest single feature' to be a sky-line drive on which motorists could enjoy a leisurely drive through the Blue Ridge and where they could experience the awe and inspiration of magnificent views."

At every turn, even without a pull-out to check for a vast view, we kept saying, "Oh my gosh, look at this lushness!"

At every turn, even without a pull-out to check for a vast view, we kept saying, "Oh my gosh, look at this lushness!"

Wildflowers start blooming in May at lower elevations.  By mid-summer they are in full bloom along the ridge.

Wildflowers start blooming in May at lower elevations.  By mid-summer they are in full bloom along the ridge.

Interpretive signs like this one were found all along the route.  I have dubbed this summer as a great, ongoing history lesson!

Interpretive signs like this one were found all along the route.  I have dubbed this summer as a great, ongoing history lesson!

So why are these mountains called Blue Ridge Mountains?  Hmmmmm . . . .

So why are these mountains called Blue Ridge Mountains?  Hmmmmm . . . .

These bare patches are rock rivers flowing down the mountainside at a very slow pace.  They are called 'talus' and they form when the freeze and thaw cycle breaks off pieces of exposed bedrock.  Over time, weathering breaks the larger chunks into smaller pieces which continue flowing downhill.  Once the rocks stop moving, soil accumulates and plants can take root.

These bare patches are rock rivers flowing down the mountainside at a very slow pace.  They are called 'talus' and they form when the freeze and thaw cycle breaks off pieces of exposed bedrock.  Over time, weathering breaks the larger chunks into smaller pieces which continue flowing downhill.  Once the rocks stop moving, soil accumulates and plants can take root.

Are you thinking, perhaps, that you have seen this scene before?  Me too.

Are you thinking, perhaps, that you have seen this scene before?  Me too.

Once in a while you must leave the lure of vast horizons and focus, instead, of the small miracles that line your path.

Once in a while you must leave the lure of vast horizons and focus, instead, of the small miracles that line your path.

This is Black Hollow Waterfalls where I had a specific composition in mind that required a few steps onto rocks to get a better vantage point.  This is where I slipped and gave my camera a bath it did not care for at all!  I have since replaced it but my feeling of being so foolish lingers . . .

This is Black Hollow Waterfalls where I had a specific composition in mind that required a few steps onto rocks to get a better vantage point.  This is where I slipped and gave my camera a bath it did not care for at all!  I have since replaced it but my feeling of being so foolish lingers . . .

Black Hollow Falls is on the Doyles River.

Black Hollow Falls is on the Doyles River.

Smaller waterfalls are found along the path to the larger Black Hollow Waterfall.

Smaller waterfalls are found along the path to the larger Black Hollow Waterfall.

For the rest of our stay in Virginia I would be using my iPhone or my Nikon Df to take photographs.

For the rest of our stay in Virginia I would be using my iPhone or my Nikon Df to take photographs.

Reminded me of Oak Creek below Cathedral Rock.

Reminded me of Oak Creek below Cathedral Rock.

It was interesting how having only the iPhone with me changed the way I looked for images to capture.  The iPhone 7 Plus is a pretty dang good device for macro photography!  This one is fo Alaina.

It was interesting how having only the iPhone with me changed the way I looked for images to capture.  The iPhone 7 Plus is a pretty dang good device for macro photography!  This one is fo Alaina.

Karen loves red!  A brown bear cub had been spotted in the area, surely feasting on these ripening berries.  Unfortunately, we did not see the cub.

Karen loves red!  A brown bear cub had been spotted in the area, surely feasting on these ripening berries.  Unfortunately, we did not see the cub.

As we examine the balance between development and preservation, it is may be useful to remember what John Muir wrote in 1914, "Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find that going to the mountains is going home; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life."