My husband and I decided to get away for a long weekend in Virginia. I picked this 5 hour trip for 2 reasons. First, we would get to hike the Blue Ridge Mountains, something we missed out on when we traveled cross country last summer, and second, it would, no doubt, be warmer there than where we live.
The weather report looked good for Saturday, but rain was forecast for Sunday. No worries, Saturday would be our travel day and we would just take a stroll or a ride to get the “lay of the land.” Even though Shenandoah National Park was closed due to the government shut down, there would be state parks where we could hike and take in the sights.
As predicted, Saturday was a complete wash out, but we got some good tips on where to hike from some of the locals while sampling some of the local beer. When I further researched the recommended trail, I learned that there would be the likelihood that we would have a black bear encounter. I read up on what to do in the event that we would be confronted by a black bear before bed (back away slowly and fight for our lives) and remarked to my husband that, “We’re not going on that trail, no way, no how,” before going to sleep.
I awoke Saturday to clouds, cool temperatures and rain, but with a new sense of courage and determination. I shared with my husband that I would check out this “bear trail,” and if it seemed well traveled enough, that I would venture up to the promised spectacular water falls. We left our hotel room with thoughts of having breakfast, visiting the local cavern, then going on our hike. After all, this was the reason we were here!
Let me point out that The Blue Ridge Mountains were no where to be seen, the cloud cover was so thick, and it was raining. We had breakfast and it was still raining. We went into the caverns for a one hour tour, and it was pouring when we got back to our car. At this point we were still hopeful. The radar looked as if there was just a small cell of bad weather above us, surely this would pass. We decided to go to the mall to give the clouds some time to move on. Once outside the mall and back to our car, it was clear to see that there was no end in sight to the rain. Defeated, we drove back to our hotel room.
On our way back, I had mixed emotions. On the one hand, I wanted to continue this wonderful time away with my husband, something we very rarely get to do. On the other hand, I was tired of feeling as if I was being held hostage by the horrible weather, especially since it was sunny and warm at home. My mind was racing with these thoughts and after discussing it with my husband, we decided to check out immediately and drive home. It would be so nice to wake up Monday in our own bed and enjoy a rare weekday off at home.
We were home by 9 that evening and woke up Monday to mild temperatures and some clouds that quickly burned off to reveal a wonderful sunny day! We headed out on a beautiful fall day, on one of our local low impact hikes. Even though there are “no trespassing” signs posted all over the place, the owner, to my knowledge, generously allows hikers on this property. Since we hiked on this private property, I can’t reveal the name of our hike here, but hikes and walks such as this exist all over this area. You know, the gentle path into the woods where you like to take your kids and your dogs, or perhaps the trail where you like to just take a brisk walk by yourself to gather your thoughts and clear your head.
The Blue Ridge Mountain experience was just not in the cards for us this weekend. What we traveled 350 miles to see was just not to be, but we enjoyed the sunshine and the beautiful fall day, right in our own backyard, and without seeing one bear!