Park Traditions

We spent the weekend in Shenandoah National Park, one of our favorite places to visit. It’s only about two hours from the house to the northern entrance and has lots to see and do, no matter how much you may want to walk (even if that’s not at all). As we go about twice a year, we’ve got quite a few traditions for our visits.

We usually enter the park at the northern most entrance and make our way down to Skyland or Big Meadows, stopping at overlooks that seem appealing. This time, it was quite foggy as we drove in, so we skipped said overlooks.

We always take at least one short hike a day. Since Lizzie was born, she’s ridden in her hiking pack/carrier for this hike.

Her Grandpa came with us on our first hike. (Matt and he also went on another, as Lizzie napped under Mom-Mom’s watchful eye and I sat in the car and knit – stupid bum hip was acting up again.)

She also walked for a good bit of the hike, probably about a half of a mile of it. She loved when Matt found her this great walking stick.

Matt took lots of photos as we went and when we got to the destination, a small stream this time.

Matt typically has two blackberry sundaes a day. Lizzie, being very much his little girl, has a tradition of stealing some of each of those sundaes. This time, Mom-Mom was available to steal ice cream from.

Last night, we left Lizzie with Mom-Mom again for her bath and bedtime to find a great spot to capture the sunset. This was a tradition we carried over from our trips to Yosemite when we lived in California.

I can’t wait to get back there again in October, where we can continue these or make some new traditions.

Oh, Shenandoah

This weekend was Squirm’s first ever time in Shenandoah National Park. We drove over after work on Tuesday, driving all the way from the north entrance to our room at Big Meadows, stopping at nearly every scenic overlook. Squirms was great in the car – well, she was great until we were about 15 miles from arriving then she totally lost it, between the long car ride and it being her usual dinner time.

We’d never been to Shenandoah in the fall before and it was just as beautiful as Matt had described it to me. All of the trees were orange and yellow and red and gorgeous. The meadow itself was just past the peak so mostly dead bushes but, still, it was lovely.

We stayed in one of the oldest cabins at Big Meadows, the kind were you have a tiny room because it’s only half of a tiny cabin. It had a fireplace but our first attempt to make a fire failed so we gave up. Thankfully, Squirms slept about as easily as she does at home so we weren’t those people with the screaming baby on the other side of a thin, thin wall. We did get to hear the couple next to us arguing over how to play the game of Life as Matt read and I worked on sewing together the last part of Squirms’s Halloween costume.

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We were up at the usual 7 both days, grabbing breakfast at the lodge before heading out. On Saturday morning, we headed up Skyline Drive a bit and did the Upper Hawksbill hike. Squirms was strapped into the awesome framed carrier that one of my old coworkers gave us and was quite happy, despite the chilly temperatures. She fell asleep, waking up just after we got to the summit. We got – hopefully – some good family photos up there that will probably hang out on Matt’s camera for at least a few more weeks.

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Then Squirms really needed some squirming time, so we hung out in our room until dinner. She crawled around while we did more reading and I attempted to knit and read magazines (am still on ones from September, not surprisingly). We did the Black Rock “hike” just before dinner which was gorgeous but Squirms wanted to throw herself off the top so we quickly headed back down.

We headed back on Sunday after breakfast, but first Squirms got to try out a rocking hair for the first time. I guess you could say she’s a bit of a fan.

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We’re already talking about going back in the Spring and again next fall – though we won’t be getting a fireplace room again and will be sure to plan lots of squirming time.