Sunday, October 21, 2012

Shenandoah National Park - Day 2

After spending last night in Luray, we headed back into Shenandoah National Park for more exploring.  Our first pit-stop was at the tunnel.  The tunnel was made about 80 years ago, before this was a national park.  The morning sun really lights up the yellow trees in the background.
 The girls have been working on their Shenandoah National Park Junior Ranger Badges this weekend.  In addition to completing several activities in their Junior Ranger explorer notebooks, they also needed to attend two ranger programs.  We met up with a ranger at the Stony Man trail at 10:00 sharp, and we were led on a very informative trek to the top of the mountain.  Here's Julia, observing different kinds of evergreen tree needles.
 The peak of Stony Man is 4,010 feet, which is the second-highest peak in the park.  Not only is it stony at the top of this mountain, but when you look at a profile of the mountain, it looks like a man's head (the profile picture is coming up).  This 1.6-mile round-trip hike sapped all of Julia's energy...which also made us realize she isn't much of a morning hiker (see Exhibit A - yesterday morning's hike).
 This is one of Troy's favorite scenic pictures, taken from the top of Stony Man.  The red trees really pop in this area.
 Here's the profile of Stony Man.  Use your imagination, and it looks like a reclining man's face.  Look closely for the eyeball socket, nose and bearded chin. We were standing on his forehead when we took the previous two pictures.
 After lunch at Skyland, which we highly recommend, and stopping here and there, including a ranger program about black bears, we made it to the northern-most visitor center, Dickey Ridge.  By this point, the girls had completed twelve activities in their Junior Ranger books, and they had attended two ranger programs.  The girls showed their completed books to a ranger at the visitor center, made a promise to protect national parks, and got their hard-earned Junior Ranger badges.  Julia and Evelyn proudly wore their badges on our last hike through the park, the one-mile round-trip Fox Hollow trail.  Hopefully we can return to Shenandoah National Park someday to explore even more trails.