Skyline Drive – Day 2 (or, Oh Deer!)

Today started off pretty crisp and chilly (I had to zip up my fleece and everything) but still a lovely sunny morning.  We began by climbing to Stony Man Summit which is 4010 feet high, all before ten o’clock in the morning.  Okay, so the car park is pretty high up as well and we didn’t do the whole 4010 feet on our own feet.  The views from the top were stunning, although somewhat breezy.  There was one other hiker already at the top, hanging perilously off the edge of the rocks so I made a mental note of his appearance in case he fell off.  Although I suppose my description probably wouldn’t bear much resemblance to any squished remains found at the bottom.

Next we took a trip down to Dark Hollow Falls, which was deceptively easy to start with as it was downhill.  Unfortunately this meant it was uphill back (see, I’m good at geography too).  Let me tell you, it’s really not a good idea to hike down to a waterfall when you need to go to the toilet.

We scored quite highly on the wildlife sightings today.  The most impressive sight was four deer (a herd?  A prancing?) which trotted across the road and hung about for a bit in the trees looking adorable and Bambi-like.  We also saw quite a few chipmunks which are surprisingly small and a lot more slender than their cartoon counterparts would have you believe.  Then again, the ones we saw didn’t sing in a high-pitched voice either.  Weirdest of all was the bat that flew around us in the forest in the middle of the afternoon sunshine.  Still no bears though.

By the early afternoon the sun was well and truly out and we were back to blazing hot sunshine in a clear blue cloudless sky again.  See what I mean about Virginia weather?

Finally we took another leisurely hike up Blackrock Summit which gave us yet more stunning and memorable views.  After four days of this, we’re starting to get a little bit blasé about it all.  The two parks we’ve been in certainly have some of the best scenery we’ve ever seen in our lives, and I can’t imagine what future sights will live up to it.

We covered about another mile or so of the Appalachian Trail today, but I also discovered that it is in fact 2,184 miles long, so I’ve now got to complete another 183 miles more than I thought in my quest to complete it.  Might save that for a while then …

We drove most of the remaining twenty  miles of the Skyline Drive without getting out of the car but just stopping at a few of the scenic overlooks.  Then off to the 7-Eleven for a 7-Election Coffee, where you cast your vote by choosing either an Obama or a Romney cup.  As I’m not eligible to vote over here, I can only cast my Obama vote via the medium of coffee.  Back to our hotel for a bit of food and an early night as we’ve worn ourselves out!  By the time we get home tomorrow we will have travelled over one thousand miles.  I need a rest!

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