On Friday (May 27) we awakened to a rainy morning. It rained all day long.
I read “Last Summer Boys: A Novel”, by Bill Rivers. I finished reading this book, after returning home from vacation. It was a good read, and I highly recommend it.
I took a break from reading to prepare a pasta salad. While preparing the salad I saw a deer walk through the side yard. I think the deer crossed over Wyckoff Rd into the yard. I wondered if there were more deer, and I missed seeing them.
I took another break from reading later in the morning to listen to “Smoke: The Disappearance of Damien Sharp”, a podcast produced by Brian Hagberg and Stacey Gross. While listening to Episode 2 of the podcast, I noticed several buzzards circling overhead. Bob said they were perched on the roof, wings spread. Then I saw a deer peeking through a fence in the neighbors yard. The deer passed through the fence and into our yard, entered the path through the woods and disappeared. This part of the yard is on the opposite side of the house than the deer we saw earlier. A little while later I saw a deer’s head popping up and down, looking toward me, as it walked through tall weeds, on the neighbors side of the fence. The deer that seemed curious about me kept getting closer to the side window by the fireplace, in the living room, where I was sitting. I felt like I was being watched, when the deer made its last appearance.
The deer soon disappeared down the hill toward Wyckoff Rd.
Be sure to check out Stacey and Brian’s podcast, mentioned above. The podcast is about Damien Sharp, a 22-year-old Warren PA resident, who went missing 20 years ago. The podcast examines the case, the people involved, and the context within which Damien went missing. The first three episodes were released on May 25. I will be listening to Episode 5, which was released today, June 8, sometime this week.
So, this was a stay at home kind of day. It rained off and on all day long. Between 7:30 pm and 8:00 pm it looked like it was clearing up. We saw some blue in the sky and the sun, briefly. More rain is expected on Saturday.
In my previous blog post I wrote that we returned to our rental AirBnb, Tranquil Shores, after lunch.
Around 3:00 pm we drove to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. We drove on the Wildlife Loop twice and took Beach Road to the Toms Cove Visitor Center, where we turned around.
Yes, we visit the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge several times during Chincoteague, VA vacations. Often we visit the refuge more than one time a day. The refuge is one of the main reasons we go to Chincoteague year after year.
Turkeys and a deer along Akeley Road in Russell, PA
When I took this picture I didn’t see the deer in the background. My focus was on the flock of turkeys. As I lowered my camera, after taking this picture, I saw movement to the left. I saw the deer’s raised white tail disappearing out of my sight. I looked at the picture that I had taken. I was glad that I had captured a picture of the deer in addition to the turkeys. As a bonus, the deer was looking at me!
Late in the morning we rode our bicycles in the neighborhood to Veteran’s Memorial Park.
Veteran’s Memorial Park sits along the Assateague Channel
Our round trip ride was 5 miles.
We ate lunch at McDonald’s and then drove onto the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, stopping for photo opportunities along Beach Access Road.We saw wild ponies in the marsh, closer than we have seen them in past years. There were wild ponies in the pony corral, too, near the Woodland Trail.
According to a delmava now news story, published on April 1st, “Chincoteague pony stallion Riptide and his band were penned in the south corral on Assateague Island after visitors to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge disregarded warnings not to approach the wild ponies…The ponies will remain in the corral until the spring roundup April 12 and 13”.
We saw great blue herons, egrets and wood ducks.
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Pair of Hooded Mergansers (Thanks EileeninMD for ID)
We spent a couple hours at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, before returning to our vacation home. We relaxed for a couple hours.
We returned to the Wildlife Refuge around 4:30 pm. We went for a drive around the Wildlife Loop.We saw birds, a fox, Sika deer, egrets, turtles, snapping turtles and a muskrat.
Leaving the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, after an approximately 45-minute visit, we drove to Food Lion and picked up dinners for three nights (through Thursday).Our purchases included three ready-made salads and three Culinevo ready-made dinner entrees–lasagna, beef stew and beef and noodles.All dinner entrees are microwaveable. We shared a Chef Salad and the beef stew for dinner. For dessert we had cheesecake.
We watched a few more episodes of NYPD Blue and went to bed.
We went for a drive yesterday, when Bob came home from work (3:30 pm).We drove, first, to a dead end street alongside the Allegheny River here in Warren PA.One of Bob’s coworkers told Bob that he sees an eagle often, sitting in a tree on one of the river islands.We didn’t see an eagle.
Leaving the riverside, we drove along the eastern side of the Allegheny Reservoir and through Allegany State Park. We didn’t see any wildlife, as we drove PA Route 59, PA Route 321, PA Route 346 or NY Route 280. I am glad that Bob decided to add a drive through Allegany State Park, as we saw 14 deer at various places in the park.
Sorry deer; there is no entertainment at the amphitheater in the Winter!
Two deer in a field
My new camera did a good job focusing on this deer that had brush all around it.
These deer very near the road.
I stayed inside our car, but the deer feeding very near the road were not afraid of us.
This deer looks like it is talking to me.
Peek-a-boo! I see you!
Deer feeding near the road
Leaving Allegany State Park, via the Red House Exit, we took I-86 to the Steamburg NY exit and drove along the western side of the Allegheny Reservoir. We saw eight more deer, during this portion of the drive. All total, we saw 19 deer!
We stopped at Arby’s for dinner.Bob had a salad with a cookie.I had a beef ‘n cheddar sandwich with curly fries and a mint chocolate shake.The shake is available only for a limited time each year.It is a once-a-year treat for me.
We spent the week of May 14th on vacation in Virginia and North Carolina. Earlier this week I uploaded a blog post about the first day of our vacation. This blog post provides details and photographs of our second day of vacation.
We checked out of the Quality Inn Skyline Drive on Monday, May 15, at 6:20 am, after a complimentary breakfast at the hotel. We drove straightway to Skyline Drive; the north entrance was located within 2 miles of our hotel. For the next 9 1/2 hours we drove the entire length of Skyline Drive (105 miles), from Front Royal to Rockfish Gap. We stopped at LOTS of overlooks and hiked the trail to Dark Hollow Falls. Here are some of the photographs that I took at the overlooks.
From the Signal Knob Overlook you can see Signal Knob, the northernmost peak of Massanutten Mountain. You can also see the south fork of the Shenandoah River.
The view at Browntown Valley Overlook looks straight out across the Browntown Valley to the Massanutten, with Signal Knob at its right-hand end.
From the Range View Overlook you can see Skyline Drive beckoning you on to the next overlook.
Marys Rock Tunnel is 610 feet long; it was blasted through the ridge about 1932.
There was a sign at Jewell Hollow Overlook that discussed wall construction. The sign read: “In the 1930s, stone walls in Shenandoah National Park were built in two styles of masonry: dry-laid and ashlar. Dry-laid walls, like those here at Jewell Hollow Overlook, could be built by less-experienced stone workers, like the young men of the CCC, since they require only moving and aligning heavy stones–more muscle than skill…”
Skyland Resort is located at mile marker 41.7 and sits at Skyline Drive’s highest elevation, 3,680 feet.
What can I say about Dark Hollow Falls. I have hiked the trail to the falls three times. The first time was with Mom in June 1994. I was 38 years old at the time; Mom would be 56 years old in a couple months. The second time I hiked the trail to Dark Hollow Falls was with Bob in May 2001. I was 45 years old at the time. Sixteen years later I hike down that trail once again to the bottom of Dark Hollow Falls.
From the parking lot, which is located at mile marker 50.7 and at an elevation of 3,425 feet, the trail is a round trip of 1.4 miles. The descent is about 440 feet, which means you have to climb back up from the falls 440 feet! A trail description states that the time required to make the round trip on this trail is 1 hour and 25 minutes.
This year the thought of hiking the Dark Hollow Falls trail caused me trepidation. I had a scare, while at Bushkill Falls earlier in the month. We were hiking around the Main Falls. We planned to do more hiking than that, intending to see more waterfalls than only Main Falls. I got lightheaded, shaky. My breathing was not good. My heart was beating very fast. My chest started to hurt. I sat down on a wooden rail for quite a while, until everything returned to normal. Then we began the climb back to the car. It took a while because I had to make lots of stops.
I had no trouble hiking down the Dark Hollow Falls trail.
Will I ever see Dark Hollow Falls again? I hope so, but I told Bob that this may be my last visit to the falls.
I took it very slow on the climb back up the trail, resting frequently. Thankfully I never experienced what I did at Bushkill Falls, while hiking the Dark Hollow Falls trail. But, man was I exhausted from that hike. Toward the end I began to feel quite weak from low sugar, I think, as we had not had anything to eat since 6:00 am. I mentioned earlier that a trail description stated that the time required to make the round trip on this trail is 1 hour and 25 minutes. It took us about 2 hours to make the round trip…not bad considering all the stops I made.
Less than a mile south of the Dark Hollow Falls parking lot is Big Meadow. We ate a picnic lunch (Bumble Bee meat spread and crackers and pineapple) at Big Meadow. We also bought Blackberry ice cream (for me) and peanut butter pie (for Bob) for dessert. I believe the blackberry ice cream is available only on Skyline Drive. It is the only place I have had that ice cream flavor. When we planned our drive to Maggie Valley, via Skyline Drive, blackberry ice cream and a Shenandoah National Park t-shirt were on my list of must-haves. In addition to the ice cream, I purchased THREE t-shirts.
It was 2:10 pm, when we continued our trip south on Skyline Drive. It wasn’t long afterward that I began to feel motion sickness. Bob parked the car at an overlook. We reclined the front seats for “20 winks”. I think Bob needed a rest, as he fell asleep for a short long time. As for me, I wasn’t feeling any better. I ended up throwing up the ice cream and pineapple that I had for lunch. I felt better, after throwing up.
We exited Skyline Drive at 4:10 pm. We didn’t make any other photo op stops at any outlooks past Big Meadow.
About a mile from our hotel we stopped at a car wash in Waynesboro. The car needed a bath, as it was covered with pollen dust and a bird had crapped on the hood.
We checked into Best Western Waynesboro around 5:00 pm. Our room number was Room 414. It was a very nice room, a two queen bed suite. The sitting area, with its couch, two comfy chairs, one end table and a coffee table, was quite nice. The living and sleeping areas were separated by a half wall.
At 6:00 pm we drove to a nearby Outback Steakhouse for dinner. Bob ordered steak; I ordered chicken fingers, which Bob helped me eat. My stomach seemed to have settled; dinner didn’t upset it further.
After dinner we watched an episode of “Elementary” on Hulu.
While driving through a local state park this past Sunday, we were surprised by a doe sprinting across the road in front of us. The doe stopped a few feet from the side of the road and allowed me to take a couple pictures of her.