Shenandoah (June 6)

This morning I saw my first black bear!  Nothing scary, as it was running away from the moment I saw it.  This is the kind of bear encounter you want to have.  My hiker friends said they started setting up their tents last night and saw two cubs climb down from the trees nearby.  They decided to keep hiking to the next shelter!

This afternoon I saw a doe and fawn.  The fawn seemed close to newborn, very wobbly on its legs.  As it bent to chew some forest growth, one of its legs gave, but it didn’t seem concerned.  Just kept eating away!  Priorities.

Copperhead in the shelter last night.  Needless to say, we all tented!  Kept walking over to check on him, though he didn’t move much.  Nothing too exciting going on with him, other than his actual presence.

So the Shenandoahs have been full of life, full of wildlife sightings.  One hiker exclaimed over a deer, “Oh!  It’s so beautiful!  I can’t believe it!  How amazing!”  Initially I thought, “It’s just a deer!” but really I think being interested and awed by nature is always good.

I can’t get over the chipmunks.  When you surprise them they race away, screeching so loudly you couldn’t miss them!  If they could just hold that screech in, they could be much stealthier!

I am glad to see the wildlife because the trail here can be somewhat mundane (in my opinion).  Now that the forest has full summer growth, views are limited to overlooks.  Hiking feels different because so often the trail crosses or nears the Skyline Drive.  Often I hike to the sound of cars passing above.

But the other good thing is that the hiking is easier here!  Today so much of the trail had a gentle downward slope that I literally ran with my pack at times.  It felt good to change things up.  Plus, I made really good time, hiking 10 miles by 10 am.  Something I always wanted to do but never managed before.

So this is the Shenandoahs so far.  A green tunnel with some wildlife sightings, easier trail, and I hear there’s some good food waiting ahead!

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