Monday, January 9, 2017

Program Visit: SHEN

I planned our visits to COLO and SHEN so we could spend the weekend camping and hiking at Shenandoah National Park.

But first, we made a stop along with way at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.  We spent the afternoon with Ranger Matt Roland and his family, touring the park and earning some patches!  

The Rolands and the McGarveys.
Junior ProRanger with the grave of Stonewall Jackson's arm.

I also got to catch up with ProRanger alumnus Eric Morgan who has recently returned from FLETC and field training at SHEN.

Ranger Roland, Dr. McGarvey, Ranger Morgan and Junior ProRanger McGarvey
Shortly after getting settled in Shenandoah NP at Mathews Arms campground, where I should note there is no cell service, I broke a crown on my tooth!  Fortunately I was not in too much pain and we continued with the visit.  I'm just glad it was only a minor inconvenience -- it does make a person think about how used to cell service we have all gotten!  

The campground is in the North district where ProRanger Dan Bussell was working.  After a coincidental meeting with Dan and his supervisor Ranger Jacob Wahler we decided to have an impromptu meeting at the ranger station.  Just then they got a call to back up another ranger and I almost followed them to the call!  After a quick grocery trip, we worked our way down Skyline drive stopping to admire the sunset at every pulloff!

Sunset along Skyline Drive
Sunset along Skyline Drive

One of many bears on or near the road.

We later saw them again as they passed through the campground and learned of a missing hiker from a campsite just across from us.  Later Dan told me about their search – they found him later that evening, lost and dehydrated but otherwise fine.  SHEN is a busy park on the weekends!

Aislin and I spent our weekend camping, exploring the park, attending ranger programs and getting started on our junior ranger badges.  We saw several bears by the roadside during our travels on Skyline Drive.

We ate s’mores for dinner (shhh!).

Lots of work to earn that badge!

Byrd Visitors Center at Big Meadows

Junior Ranger Program with Ranger Meredith!

Climbing is fun!

On our final morning, Dan met us at our campsite.  As I finished packed the car, I heard rustling the bushes and out emerged a smallish bear!  I scared him when I jumped in the car and slammed the door.  So, alas, no photos!  But, then I did remember all the rustling in the bushes that I heard from the tent each night.  I had assumed they were just deer - now I'm not sure.  I sure was glad that I had followed all of the park’s safety rules to properly store coolers and food items!!

Fun at the Dickey Ridge Visitors Center!
Working on the badge with ProRanger Dan Bussell.
Taking the junior ranger oath is serious business.
We spent the day with Dan on a hike, finishing our junior ranger badge and learning about Shenandoah NP and the law enforcement issues he has gotten to see this summer. 

ProRanger Bussell and Ranger Wahler.

We also moved back into cell phone range, so I made an emergency appointment with the dentist!  So, after a meeting with Ranger Jacob Wahler and presentation of the plaque, we hit the road for home!

Up next:  VAFO

No comments:

Post a Comment