Sleeping in Bear Country

Trip Start Sep 10, 2009
Trip End Sep 18, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Virginia
Monday, September 14, 2009

Sept. 14 : Another beautiful Day. Arose from slumber, packed up, walked over and said farewell to our new friends, while exchanging address & emails. Departed Gifford Pinchot State Park for Gettysburg, PA. While in Gettysburg, we stopped off at the headquarters of General Lee (while the confederate forces occupied Gettysburg)  and then proceeded to tour some of the battlefield area that the Battle of Gettysburg raged upon.  Passed the memorial to the South Carolina militia that fought there.  Looked out across the battlefield and imagined the fury of battle that this land hosted and the thousands of men who lost their lives during that campaign. A type of still sadness crosses one's heart & mind as you see the many memorials and the immense area that battle covered.
   We moved onward, crossing the POTOMAC RIVER and eventually reaching the entrance to the SHENANDOAH National Park and the beautiful Skyline Drive.  Driving on the Skyline Drive we saw many beautiful scenes, one of which was the Shenandoah Valley area. 
   Night time was catching up to us fast and we still had a good way to go before reaching this day's destination, Big Meadows National Park, on the Skyline Drive. A quick look at 'Fadie-Belle' (GPS unit)  told us we still had 33 mi to go and nearly an hour before our arrival. (speed limit on Skyline drive is 35 mph...yea, I know I was speeding a bit).....BUT, the sunset across the mountains reminded us that GOD was with us and we weren't alone as we continued our trek.  
As night quickly surrounded and engulfed us completely, we had to slow down and keep an ever watchful eye out for the deer, bear and other nocturnal creatures that lived in this wilderness.  Just before we entered the campground we saw several adult bears and a pair of twin little ones with their mother.  

We finally reached our destination, fumbled through the darkness (no electricity in this campground), found our campsite and put up camp by lantern light. This being the mid-point in our travels, we had much dirty laundry that needed to be washed & dryed to insure we had enough clean clothing to continue. No problem...that is anywhere else. But here in 'Nature's Backyard' it was a bit tricky as well as frightening. Entering the campground, we saw many warning signs of BEAR & SKUNK. So, you can imagine the way we felt in the dark 1/4 mile walk from the camp site to the laundromat. While waiting on the wash to dry, we stepped outside to get more change from the changer and what did we see but a skunk, not  more than10 feet away. I froze...He froze...I slowly backed into the doorway...he turned and ran away....NOT QUITE SURE WHO SCARED WHO THE MOST !!!.  Imagine the thought of finishing our trip smelling like a skunk...ugh!   After finishing the wash, we started back down to the campsite, waving our light left to right to make sure no other wildlife was close. We heard a noise next to us in the woods and shined the light over the direction of the sound and there were six or eight "pairs" of yellow and red eyes glowing back at us...all lined up in a row as if surrounding us ready to attack....needless to say, we walked faster and jumped into our tent and zipped it up tight. Just about the time we settled down into our sleeping bags 'SOMETHING' came running by our tent grunting and huffing......."NOT MUCH SLEEP TONIGHT !!!!""  No worries..It's All Good...NOT!
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Where I stayed
Big Meadow National Park
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