Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Ramble...........

First of all I want to thank Debbie from "It's All About Purple" (link here), for telling me about her tripod.  It sounded so neat I decided to buy one and last Friday we used it for the first time.  A big thank you from both of us Debbie.  Gregg likes it very much as it is so easy and lightweight.  We will be taking it with us everywhere.


This is the same photo but I cropped it this time.....


and this is the view behind us of the Shenandoah Valley.


The weather was perfect as it was the first day we woke up to a bit of a chill in the air.  It warmed up to the low 70's and stayed that way all the time we were out, with very little humidity.  We left late for us, around noon, but our destination was only a little over an hour away.   We were heading to Big Meadow, one of our favorite walking spots.  

We stopped at one of the first look-outs because a small group of people were pointing and staring into the trees.  We thought it might be deer but when we asked they told us that there was a bear in the woods.  Of course we stopped and joined them.  We could see that it was indeed a bear with a lot of undergrowth and trees in the way, and our photographs didn't come out.  But we had that lovely memory of a bear sighting.  

In 38 years of coming to Skyline Drive we never saw any sign of a bear, even though we kept hearing stories from people who had.  Imagine our surprise when in the last couple of years we have had at least two sightings.  On Friday we were to see three more.  They were very active and we realized later why we hadn't seen our usual deer.  They had most likely skedaddled because of the bears  We also noticed that everywhere was so lush and green, and they were having the Blackberry Festival this past weekend, and we came across a lot of berries on the meadow.  The bears were having their own blackberry festival.  I am not sure if the ones below are blackberries but I bet they make great bear food.  Those other posts I blogged about can be found here and here if you missed them.


After a while we continued our car ride and reached Big Meadows.  There is a lodge nearby where we have stayed before and intend to stay again.  We want to wake up early and see the sun rise over  the meadow, and get some neat photos in that golden hour of light.  We don't do enough of that.  Today the sun was almost overhead but no matter what time of day we get here, it is always worth the effort.  


We took our usual trail but the further along we walked, it went from dry to soggy and I wished I had put on a pair of sturdy, water-proof walking shoes.  My feet were already soaking wet.  Normally there is no problem but judging by my soggy socks they've had a lot of rain recently.  Gregg took a short cut through the long grass looking for dryer ground and eyes downward, as I am always worried about where I put my feet on uneven ground and had already almost come a cropper,  I saw a long, green, slithery tail slide only a few inches from my feet.  I yelled so loud that if any bears had been nearby, they would have taken for the hills.  

Gregg thought I had seen a deer but I told him that was not a 'hey I have seen  a sweet little bambi' kind of a yell, that was a scream as in "a huge green blankety-blank snake almost slithered over my feet' kind of a scream.  And you thought I had a great respect for snakes right?  Well I do and my fascination for them is endless but I get a little startled when I see a flash of one moving at a high rate of speed right next to my feet, especially when I am bending down and totally focused on pretty little wildflowers.  Did I tell you how big it was?  It was huge!  

I ran up that incline and was next to Gregg in two seconds flat.  It's amazing how fast you can move when you feel the need, and I managed to get up there without falling on my nether regions, amazingly.  So there you go and darn, I didn't get a photo.  The poor thing was too busy trying to get away from me and I was too busy trying to get away from it.  Not only sightings of bears have been a rare event, but we have never seen a snake on Big Meadows in all the times we have been here.  

Needless to say I won't be trudging around in long, wet soggy grass for a while, and as we made our way up the nice dry trail to our car, we were still taking photos of pretty wildflowers.


I am using the new camera Gregg gave me for my birthday.  We need a lot of practice with the manual setting.  So far I haven't been too happy with my results, especially when taking photos of white flowers.  The details get totally washed out and the bright sunlight probably didn't help.  I have a lot to learn but I had no idea there was a tiny spider on this yellow flower, until I downloaded the photo and looked at it on my computer screen later that night.  I like those kind of surprises, these kind of surprises don't make me scream like a banshee.


Once we were in our car again we hadn't gone that far when wouldn't you know it, there were two or three cars stopped in the middle of the road coming and going, with arms out of windows pointing into the trees.  There was no way around them and people behind us didn't seem to mind when we stopped.  In my side-mirror I saw they had also started pointing into the trees.  Eureka, there was another bear!  The photo below is a little fuzzy but I will be sharing others in my Camera Critter post on Saturday.  This one is a teaser I guess you could say.  Even though the bear is out of focus I loved how the photo turned out, but that's just me.  


After all the excitement and after my attack of the vapors because of green slithery things, I felt I needed a consolatory treat.  As we drove through Sperryville we had an ice-cream at a kiosk we have driven by a hundred times.  We ate our ice-cream in the car as there were only a couple of tables and they were taken.  Not too far from home we got caught up in a traffic jam at the train crossing in Gainesville, and we were beginning to think we would be there forever.  The police had blocked two roads off and the goods train was going nowhere and neither was the traffic.  After a while we turned around with a lot of other like-minded people, backtracked a ways until we reached the freeway, and it wasn't too long after that we rolled into our driveway.  It had been quite an afternoon. 

24 comments:

Mascha said...

Oh, you had an eventful hike!
Thanks for the kind comments on my blog. Glad to see you again :-)

I am not a bear met ... in southern Germany was once one. They called him Bruno and have shot him in the end :-(

Carole M. said...

a fabulous outing Denise and lovely photos. You will get used to your new camera, I am doing exactly the same my end. I've also experienced a similar snake encounter, but I did go get my camera and go back for a snapshot to prove it was there.

Ranita Sinha said...

Love the picture of the valley and you and Gregg's too..you are lucky to be able to see the bear and seems you have enjoyed a lot..thanks for sharing..

A Cuban In London said...

Your photos are breath-taking. Really beautiful. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Valerie said...

Oh boy, what an experience. A snake, for goodness sake. If I'd been there I would have joined you in a screaming contest. I have stroked a captive snake and quite liked it, but a wild one is another matter entirely.

beyondwandering.com said...

You had such a fun adventure with beautiful view, and did so well with your new camera!

Jane and Chris said...

who do you think picked the most berries? My money is on the bears!
A few weeks ago I had a blankety blank snake slither over my feet, thankfully I was wearing crocs!
Jane x
PS Love the photo of you both.

MJ said...

There is quite a bear problem here along with the deer. But of course quite the normal with living in the rocky mountains but bears are one thing I am really afraid off. The babies are out and about with the animals and momma and poppa are really protective. You had a very nice time, I can see! Some beautiful photos, you have a nice camera. ((hugs))

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

Wow! What an exciting trip! BOth large and small!
I found a great bear in my backyard one day. It was quite a surprise.
Cheers from Cottage Country!

TexWisGirl said...

very cool to have several bear sightings! i laughed at the screaming discussion. :)

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Well that was a fun adventure you both had and my heart nearly left my chest when I saw that bear! Too close for me. Great shot.

Debbie said...

love, love, love the picture of the 2 of you!! it's so much better to have pictures with both peeps in them. and isn't it easier to smile at the camera, when your not also trying to smile at strangers who can't figure out how to use your camera?!?!

i am so happy you like the tripod. we keep ours in the car so we never forget to bring it.

EG CameraGirl said...

Seeing the bears would be very very exciting! But the snake? Not so much. Snakes are a good reason to wear sturdy hiking shoes through high grass. :)

gigihawaii said...

Sheesh! A snake and a bear? Whoa! Over here in Hawaii, it's been raining heavily, but so far no property damage from the tropical storm.

Leave It To Davis said...

Love this post....feel like I was there with you!!! What an amazing photo of the spider on the flower...and that bear!!! Congratulations on these wonderful shots!

Kerri Farley said...

What a fun day! And the snake sure is a conversation piece!

Charlene said...

What an exciting trip you've had with all those fantastic sceneries and pretty little things around! Nice photos as always.

Christine K. said...

gorgeous photos! all are beautiful!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Lovely shots and "the bear" what a capture -- you go girl.

Sandy Carlson said...

What a great hike. Thanks for sharing the views and the flowers.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Denise, enjoyed the post and glad both you and the snake escaped, most likely it was as scared as you (and I would be too).
Can you let us know about your new tripod as it sounds like a great thing to have. Also, I am curious as to what new camera you received as a birthday gift. I recently bought a new Samsung digital camera myself.

Kay said...

That is such a lovely photo of you both and now I see what that gorgeous header photo of yours is. Wow!

Cezar and Léia said...

Really nice picture of you two!
God bless you!
Cezar

Linda said...

That was a very exciting walk, Denise!