It’s was wonderful to be in Shenandoah National Park. The fall colors were just beginning to show – reds, gold, and brown brushed lightly on the edges of green leaves. Berries were ripe on shrubby under growth. First day, I spied a bear along the edge of the road, watching the cars drive by. I thought it best not to stop for a photo, but I was so excited. It was my first viewing of a black bear. I’ll never forget his brown nose sniff the air as I passed (probably thinking my car was a large blue berry – hee hee).
I tell you, the fresh mountain air can knock anyone out cold, but before the first night was through I walked out into the field outside my cabin. The night was so clear – OMG, I could see the Milky Way, every tiny star, satellites, and shooting stars! It was flat-out amazing! And I saw the one constellation I’ve been searching for years – Draco. Yes, I know, he shouldn’t be that hard to find, right? Well, for some reason he had eluded me until now. And when I looked up at the stars that form the dragon’s head, a shooting star shot from his lips. In my mind, I had just witnessed the magic of the universe.
Since I was near the town of Luray, I just had to visit Luray Caverns – which, if you are ever in the area, you should totally go visit. The caverns are home to the ghost of Pluto, the master of the underworld and ruler of death. Well, alright, he is a white column of mineral rock, but it’s spooky how he seems to follow you as you walk the cavern trail. And who could visit the cavern without viewing the mirror lake (a small shallow pool of water that reflects the ceiling perfectly), the famous fried eggs (which really look like fried eggs), and the wishing well (sorry, can’t tell you what I wished for).
I also explored the park, where I got to watch several individual ravens. They were beautiful, but so elusive I couldn’t capture them on camera. The picture over to the side was the best photo I could get – the aft side of the raven. They were so inspiring, but who could blame me? They are one of my most favorite creatures, even though I based Death’s mortal form on them. And here I could observe their behavior first hand.
My last night, I celebrated my trip with a great diner finished with Skyland Drive’s famous blackberry ice cream (a must try!) and a Blackberry Flapper Frappe (which is a mixture of moonshine, rum, and blackberry flavor and for people over twenty-one only). I walked back to my cabin just as the sun began to set.
It was an amazing trip. The music of the wilderness. The wonders of the underworld. The magic of the night sky. This is definitely a place I would visit again.