Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A RIDE UP TO SKYLINE DRIVE, VIRGINIA

1) We have had some beautiful days lately.  On Sunday we decided to drive to Skyline Drive.  


It was an impulse decision as it was later when we started out, and we got there at around 3.30 p.m., almost 4 o'clock. 


 The light was getting longer, perfect for photos we said.  


We hadn't even gotten onto Skyline Drive when we saw a bear running across the road, right in front of us, at a full gallop.  I have never seen a bear run that fast and have never seen one that big.  Fortunately we weren't going very fast ourselves, as the roads become narrow and winding.  Gregg was able to break so that the bear could make its way across safely.  Again, just like our last bear sighting up here, there was no chance for a photo but what a great memory.  Gregg, of course, said that he didn't know which was more fun, seeing the bear or watching my reaction as I shouted, "Bear! Bear! Bear!"  I was spluttering and pointing, and could barely get the words out, and reenacting, he said, the time we were in the north west several years ago when a Moose crossed the road.  I tend to waste valuable seconds spluttering when I should be reaching for a camera but really, there wasn't time to take a photo.  It is an excuse I am sticking with.


What I was really trying to say was "Stop! Stop! Stop!"  I was so glad that big, beautiful animal got across safely, that there was no traffic behind or in front of us before he reached the safety of the trees and disappeared into the woods.  To see a wild animal in its natural habitat is an awesome feeling of joy.  However, I just wouldn't want to be walking down one of the trails and come across one.  I know you're supposed to make a lot of noise and that they are kind of skittish of people and would normally stay well clear, but well...you know....and I can be a nervous nelly about such things.  And here's me wanting to go to Kodiak Island one day and be one with the grizzly.  Yes, I know!   This big boy was close enough when we saw him, 50-60 feet in front of us, and with us safely in our car.  A fleeting look of a magnificent animal.  We have seen more bears up here over the last couple of years than we have in all the years we have lived in Virginia.  Incredible but yes, at a distance.  Nope, wasn't going to go chasing into the woods for a photo.  It's one of those memories that will stay with us always, one of those priceless gifts worth far more than material things.




2) When we reached Big Meadows Lodge, we had not eaten all day and had wanted to have dinner in the dining room.  We were told it would be closing soon but that the Tap Room was open.  We made our way downstairs.  There was loud music and  when we got there, a lady with a great voice and a microphone accompanying instrumental music of popular songs, some country and western, some Janice Joplin, some jazz.  We picked a table on the edge of the dining area and settled down to listen.  The menu is limited but we decided on a Margarita Pizza.  It was delicious.  



So, we ate our pizza, I drank a coffee and Gregg had a coke.  



By the time we had finished we listened to several songs and when we left we told Racine (the singer) how much we had enjoyed her performance.  She was a professional and we could see her on stage with a big audience.  If you ever stop by the tap room and she is performing, don't let the loudness of the speakers put you off.  I am normally in my comfort zone with low decibels but after a while I started enjoying myself, more than I ever thought I would.  It took this visit to remind me how much I love live music.  The high energy sets your toes tapping.


3) Just before we walked into the Lodge I found one bird to photograph.  Yay!  He was a White Breasted Nuthatch.  I could just about make out wood bark flying.  It was a fine wood bark, almost like bits of sawdust.  That Nuthatch had quite a technique and I enjoyed watching him for a little while. A more cropped version of the above photo.




I bought a couple of things to commemorate our bear sighting.  Big Meadows has a great gift shop by the way.  I'm getting together with friends again this weekend, and will be divvying up the chocolate paw print.  Not sure who will be getting the birthday card yet.



3) Although we didn't do a lot of hiking today, we stopped at a couple of the overlooks.  Today was a busy day and all the parking spots at Big Meadows were overflowing, and a lot of places were the same in between.  This was the day to get out and enjoy Skyline Drive, for a whole lot of people.  I feel fortunate we can come back another day, maybe during the week next time and stay longer.  We knew that by the time we got back it would be dark, and we decided to make our way home.


4) We saw no deer and they have been scarce on our previous visits too.....


but we did see this cute little pup making his way along the wall.  We only got him as he was retreating fast, kissing the stone with his nose, sniffing all those wonderful smells that our canine friends like to do.




Can't wait to get up there again, and we will start out early in the morning next time.  Maybe take a picnic if the weather is kind.  It will be colder of course but car picnics with a view like that can be wonderful!


5) Finishing off with a link to great wildlife photos, that I hope will bring a smile.  You can see them here.  On this page there are links to other news articles, so if you don't want to see them, don't go any further than the last cute animal.





 I am supporting the following memes as they become available, with many thanks to all our hosts.

Theresa at Good Fences
Tanya at Willy-Nilly Friday Five
The team at SkyWatch Friday
Eileen at Saturday's Critters

46 comments:

  1. You had a very interesting afternoon. In all my hiking in the rockies, I never saw a bear. we saw lats of evidence of bears but never saw one. So you were lucky to see this bear.

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  2. What an experience, Denise, with that bear! I, too, am glad that he got safely across the street with no harm done either to him or anyone else. And the pizza looks absolutely scrumptious! Your posts and photos always bring me such joy! Thank you so much for sharing, and I hope you are having a great week. :)

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  3. Bear!!!! I would have been so excited. What a delightful outing - and I love the dog reading the peemail too.

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  4. Lovely trip and.the landscape.so similar to european ones

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  5. Hi Denise, what a great visit for you both, glad you managed not to run the Bear over, wouldn't do a lot for the car at the size of a Bear, some super views and the pizza looks very tasty. Love the Nuthatch with its chippings. All the best. Regards John

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  6. Excelentes fotografias e para mim pode ser uma fatia de pizza.
    Um abraço e continuação de uma boa semana.
    Andarilhar

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  7. I've never seen a bear run but I hear that can run faster than humans. You guys have the best road trips.

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  8. love the pup on the stone wall. laughed at 'woman! woman! woman!' ha! :) the pizza looks fantastic. glad you enjoyed the performance, too.

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  9. still laughing at your BEAR BEAR BEAR and even more at woman woman from the bear... I would die of joy to see that. so glad you could stop for the bear. all your photos are beautiful today and the music and pizza is something I would like.

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  10. LOVE the nuthatch photos!

    Because of the precious bird.

    And because of the wonderful bokeh.

    Luna Crone

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  11. Gorgeous shots! And that pizza looks delicious.

    I've caught fleeting glances of bears out in the wild. It is a treat to see them behaving as they should. And yes, they are fast on their feet.

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  12. I wish i lived closer to skyline drive. too bad you couldn't get a pic of the bear.

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  13. funny story and cute illustrations!!! beautiful images also!!!

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  14. Well, you won't see bears galloping across the road over here in Hawaii. Lol.

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  15. Fun drive and fun post. Visiting from good fences.

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  16. The nuthatch photo's are lovely.
    I enjoyed your post Denise, thank you.

    All the best Jan

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  17. sorry can't help laughing out loud when i read the part of you shouting Bear bear bear. Yeah... I'll probably be too shocked to do anything but that.

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  18. You got there at the perfect bear-sighting hour! All the bears I've encountered on the trail behind my house were after 3PM - one we encountered hiking in UT was early morning. Watching how fast they can run is amazing. I enjoyed your post - a great day of wildlife sighting, pizza, song, and beautiful landscapes.

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  19. You have such an entertaining way of writing a post! You brought smiles and chuckles today and of course lots of gorgeous photos of those amazing views. Very nice moment to catch the pup walking on the wall!

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  20. Love the bear story! And sweet shot of the nuthatch.

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  21. My daughter and I go rambling around here in Michigan. There are plenty of bears but we have yet to see one. I mean really SEE one. It's not fair, others get them come into their back yards. I want to see a bear.
    Janice

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  22. Hello, it is always cool to see a bear in the wild. I have Kodiak Island on my bucket list too. Love the nuthatch and the pretty views. The pizza looks yummy! Happy Thursday, have a great day!

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  23. What a great post! I would have loved this trip with you, seeing the bear, enjoying the singing with the pizza, and the sweet little nuthatch and puppy on the wall!

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  24. We were on Skyline Drive today! The colors have changed and it is glorious! Saw a couple of deer, no bears. We have seen them in the past but I rarely get a photo because they are always headed into the bushes. I'd like to get a dash cam.

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  25. Fun, fun, and funny!
    The pizza looks yummy!

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  26. Thank you for sharing your day. I really enjoyed it and what a wonderful thing to see a bear. I can imagine the feeling - I feel like that with close up whales, kangaroos, koalas and I guess any life in its wild state. Also loved that back lit cloud and the pizza has made me hungry. Luckily we are having pizza for tea though I doubt it will be as nice as yours looked.

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  27. Hello Denise!:) What a super day out, and entertaining post. I laughed at the BEAR BEAR, I once shouted our SNAKE SNAKE, by which time the startled snake had slithered away, before I got a chance of photographing it!!:) So glad you got to see a wild bear, and Greg was able to stop the car. Nice shot of the pooch, nuthatch, and pizza, which looks delish!:)
    Denise, thank you for linking me up to last weeks Todays Flowers, and of course I approved of your choice of photo.

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  28. I hear that sweet bird singing in the bubbles!!!

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  29. Lovely sky photos! Love the dog too! :D

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  30. Those bird shots are dreamy.

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  31. wow, what an experience. :) I have never seen a bear in the wild. We have them up north but that takes forever to go to.
    Love your images :)

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  32. "To see a wild animal in its natural habitat is an awesome feeling of joy. " AMEN

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  33. I'm going on a road trip tomorrow. I hope I have half as much fun as you guys did although seeing a bear is not on the cards at all here.

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  34. Hello Denise, I enjoyed your trip to Shenandoah! The nuthatch photos are awesome, I love the bokeh! Cute doggie. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, have a happy weekend!

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  35. What a trip! I'm sure the bear was as fearful as you. Ours, in our yard, was! I love your graphics!!!

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  36. Nice photos of the nuthatch. I am still having them everyday.

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  37. Beautiful country and landscaping. Loved all of this...right down to the pizza!!! Yum.

    Cute nuthatch!!!!

    Your contribution for us birders at I'd Rather B Birdin' this weekend is much appreciated!!

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  38. Sounds like a lovely day out. How exciting - and scary - to see a bear! I think I might have been shouting the same as you!!!

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  39. The scenery is just lovely as is the pizza! I would have done the same thing upon seeing a bear crossing the road; so glad he/she was safe!!

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  40. love this happy post Denise! The bear sighting was wonderful! They are awe-inspiring, that is for sure. Your creativity in memorializing your 'non-photo-opportunity' is great and I wish had the talent to do that as I have a lot of those kind of moments (not often with bears of course, but so many other nature shots I just missed because....) Loved feeling as if I were along with you on this beautifiul and exciting drive (and meal/entertainment).

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  41. oh i loved this whole post denise! and your bear cartoon made me laugh! there have been many sightings here, in the towns even because berry growth was low...that's what i just read anyway...we took a ride on the blue ridge parkway today, headed towards lynchburg...so many people had the same idea after 2 days of wind, today was beautiful...it was nick, myself and the twins...we ended up at an old cemetery i wanted to visit, we'd been there before but had missed the museums they have...once we got there, the boys wouldn't stop complaining and nick just stood by the truck waiting for me to see what i wanted to see.....well it all kind of hurt my feelings for some reason so i told them all "nevermind, lets just go home" and i've been moping around the rest of the day :( i need to just go to bed haha...have a great week ahead denise and thank you for linking!

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  42. Nice post - I do like the nuthatch. My sat nav often says 'Bear left' - but I never see them!!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  43. Sounds like a great trip. I'd love to see a bear in the wild and I bet I'd be just as tongue tied as you. Sad you didn't get a picture but yes what a great memory. Loved the Bear Paw Chocolate you got. Also the cute photo of the dog on the stone wall.

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  44. I know that bear, bear, 🐻 feeling and when the picture is only in your brain!! Awesome capture of that nuthatch, I have only seen them eating at my feeders!!

    And I must close with a comment about that pizza, YuM!!!!

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  45. What a lovely drive! My sister lives near Winchester, VA, and we drove through a bit of that skyline drive a few years ago when I was visiting - we weren't lucky enough to see bears though. :) And the eating out and entertaining sound lovely, too.

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