We had a couple of easy days with two short hikes to rocky lookouts.
Yesterday the campground was so busy that we figured that the trails would be as well. In the morning did the approximately 1 mile round trip walk from the campground to Blackrock.
There was a small lookout on the Appalachian Trail section.
And then a more wide open one at the top of Blackrock.
Somebody likes their privacy and their view with a home in the middle of the forest.
We wondered why the farmer left this clump of trees in the middle of his field.
We always need a “Stuart standing on top of the rock” picture.
On the way back we stopped at the lodge to try and get our email but their internet was not working and I could not get our hotspot to connect so we just headed back to the RV for lunch.
In the afternoon we decided to go for a short bike ride. We have not used the bike in a LONG time and there is a rail trail that we might try from the next campground. It seemed like a good idea to get it cleaned up and do a test run. We just rode around the campground and then out to Skyline Drive. Let’s just say that we discovered a lot of muscles and sore spots that we haven’t used in a while. I forgot to get a picture.
It had been sunny and hot all day up until early afternoon. Then the predicted thunderstorm appeared. Lots of wind and rain and thunder. We are surrounded by tenters and I felt bad sitting in the seat at the front of the RV watching the storm go by while they huddled in the picnic shelters or cars.
There was a lull in the rain that let everyone have dinner if they started early enough.
The deer around here have no fear and wander around the campground. I took this picture out the RV window.
Soon enough the rain and wind came back. It was not the quick downpour of a thunderstorm but a long term rain that lasted most of the night. It also got kind of cold.
This morning was nice and sunny so it was drying out and packing up time for most of the people that were here for the weekend.
Today we needed to do something short so I get get back into cell phone range at 1 pm for a call with my dad and my daughters for Father’s Day. My daughter’s were up visiting my dad so it just meant one call. They have to call me because our US pay as you go cell phone does not allow outgoing calls to Canada.
We drove about 10 miles up Skyline Drive to do a hike near the other lodge in the park, Skyland Lodge, The Stony Man trail is a 1.4 mile lariat (an out and back section with a loop at the end) that climbs a few hundred feet to yet another rocky outcrop.
It was a nice cool morning in the shade. Jennie even needed a jacket for a while.
It looked like this tree had split the rock in two.
Another great view on a pretty clear day.
To the north you could see Skyline Drive snaking off through the mountains.
In the above picture you can also see the Little Stony Man Outlook.
You can get to it on a longer hike starting at the same place with much more climbing down and back up.
I climbed down a bit on either side of our outcrop. To the south.
To the north. You can just see Jennie’s head in the very top left.
Back at me.
To the south we could see down to the Skyland Lodge, near where we were parked,
It is a very sprawling place, with cabins all over the place. When we went back down I couldn’t exactly figure out where this open area was. This was the best I could do.
The outlook wasn’t very busy while we were there. Groups of people would come, stay a few minutes, take a few pictures and leave. Since we weren’t in a great hurry we stayed and enjoyed the view for a long time before heading down.
We had lunch at an overlook on the drive back.
We went to the Big Meadow Lodge to try and use their internet to Skype my dad. No luck. It was not working at all. Our hotspot worked just well enough that I could send an iMessage to my brother that he should call us on the cell phone. We had a nice talk with my mom and dad and our daughters.
We headed back to the RV for a restful but hot afternoon. It will be nice to get back to air conditioning.