Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Travel Chaotically! - Day 3, Shenandoah - Lions, tigers and bears! Oh my!!!

Day 3 found us on Stony Man Trail, including the Passmaquoddy, to make a 3.5 mile circuit.

So pretty!!!

So stony!

So incredible!

I have looked and looked for this plant - Indian Pipe, also called Ghost Plant - in the Smokies, but had never seen it 'til now!  It is a weird little plant that contains no chlorophyll, and lives off a fungi that is in turn living off the roots of trees, often beeches.  Weird, huh?  
The more you know!!!

And this my friends, is called Doll's Eyes!! Or you can use the dull name of White Baneberry, or the fancy one of Actaea pachypoda.  It has white flowers in the spring, that give way over summer to these berries.  Another plant I have not seen in the Smokies, but like the Indian Pipe, knew on sight from seeing it in my wildflower books!!  (Thanks, Granny and Don!!!)
Stony Man Trail, as is often the case in Shenandoah...had many steep ups and downs....often along some way to glorious vistas.  It is easier to find short (3 miles or so, vs 6-7 miles or greater) 'loop' trails here in Shenandoah, that take you from the forest floor to stony peaks, than is the case in much of the Smokies. But, you do make up for the shorter distance with some pretty significant climbs!!!  After the morning's exertion, we took the super easy Limberlost Trial in the afternoon.  It is lovely and fully wheelchair accessible. Our adventure was a 1.5 mile walk since we took a little detour down the Crescent Rock Trail.

Limberlost gives you a great view of  a geologic formation called "columnar jointing" that occurs when volcanic rock cools and contracts.  So much to see and think about!!!

A lot to think about indeed, as we rounded a bend, I thought, "Where the heck is your mother??!!!" when I spied two small cubs digging for grubs alongside the trail!!!

B got these two pics while we slowly backed away.  As we did, I saw Momma tromping through the bush as her little charges ran back to join her!!!
After giving everybody space and time to regroup, we were back on the trail.  Throughout our walks I had been searching for salamanders.  We saw stations with signs stating they were monitoring "amphibians" in some fashion.  I saw a huge flock of turkeys that were gone before B could see them and blended too well into the darker under growth for my phone's camera to pick them up.  I saw medium sized trout in every stream.  Birds of all sorts, including a brilliant male scarlet tanager during my rock scramble!  But, I wanted to see one of those bright orange salamanders!!!

He's not bright orange.  But, I was pleased to see this little guy!!
Making our way back to the Lodge along Skyline Drive...we found this fellow, rooting about for a bit of supper!

We may not have had the lions and tigers....but there were plenty of bears....and soooooo many wonderful things!  Oh, my!!! - les

1 comment:

  1. Baby bears are so cute! I need to take one home with me... The mama bear thing is scary though. I can't believe the rocks naturally occur in those formations! Wonderful photography as always!