Monday, November 3, 2008

Skyline drive in Shenandoah Park

Dave at The Home Garden is asking for Garden bloggers to show their fall colors through a Garden Bloggers Fall Color Project . Here in Georgia, there is not much color as of yet but I was recently in Virginia where we spotted some beautiful Fall Colors that I would like to share with you...

The Saint and I recently drove through a portion of the Blue Ridge mountains. We drove along Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park. We were expecting tons of Fall color with our timing.
The drive up the mountain is full of curves, enough so to make one a bit dizzy at times!
This area has been in a recently drought with mild temps so the colors were not as spectacular as we had expected. But still beautiful with the different colors side by side.
We were wondering if we would spot any bears while on our journey to the top of the Earth! Tina recently saw bears in a tree and stopped to snap this picture of them. They are so cute frolicking in the tree in such a playful manner. If only we could be so lucky to spot bears in a tree! Let's cruise on up the mountain as you never know what we might spot...
Here a lone evergreen stood tall with the fall colors in the background.
Yellow was the dominate color of the mountains with rust and some green mixed within. Even though the colors were not as vibrant with colors of reds and orange that I was dying to see, it was still a beautiful sight to our eyes. Our 3 year GA drought has not left us with much color so this was beautiful for us.
We found the beauty in this lone tree of years past.
We did spot a vibrant red here and there in the tops of trees leading us to believe that the peek season was still a few days away.
It was so pretty and breathtaking to see this beautiful country from high above.
Even though the yellows don't impress me much, this tree stood out and glowed with the sun shining on its beautiful leaves.
I spotted beauty along the hillside as we drove along the slow winding road. The stone on the hillside was just awesome with the colored leaves surrounding it.

I know these are not trees filled with colors but I bet at one point, they were magnificent trees filled with color. I still see their beauty.
Now just what in the world could this black patch be in the middle of that beautiful golden leafed tree?
Let's click the video to see what it could be...

Let's click this second video to make sure we see what we think we see. Yep, it was our lucky day! A black bear in a tree along side of the road eating leaves! This bear was enjoying its lunch and not paying any attention to the amazed humans below!

Sorry about the talking on the video but no way possible to avoid that noisy chit chat from the 50 or so new friends surrounding me! I am sure the camera book tells me how to turn off the mic but I must have missed that chapter. I was holding one hand up shading the sun from my eyes while operating the camera with the other hand. I was lucky to capture the video as the still shots did not come out clear at all.

If you listen to the sound, after I speak on the second video, you can hear a man make the perfect statement. And it was just about too much for the heart to take. It was awesome....
Moving on down the mountain to the Big Meadows area, we made our final stop before gliding back down the mountain. Can anyone identify this beautiful red leaf plant?
The Meadow was full of it and it was really pretty with the sun beaming down on it.
We also spotted these pods that were opening up and scattering seeds all over the Meadow! It looked like it was snowing but it was way too warm on this day for snow.
My Mother in law tells me these are Milkweed pods. I did not know they had pods and I should pay closer attention...
But in my defense, I thought this was Milkweed. A correction by my Mother in law as to this being Queen Annes lace. Now just why is it blooming this time of year? Hummmm....
Wildflowers in colors of purple were a pretty sight along the roadside as well as the pretty trees.

Wild Asters maybe? As you know, I do not know my wildflowers but I think these to be asters of some type.

We headed to TN from the VA leg of our trip and saw some pretty colors there also.

A bit more reds and oranges but since we did not stop for Kodak moments during this part of our journey, you must rely on others for a TN view. Not a bad shot for cruising at 75mph don't ya think?

Now our journey through SKYLINE DRIVE AND THE SHENANDOAH PARK is over and I am once again back, In the Garden...


  1. Looks like you had a wonderful trip. We have been through the mountains of North Carolina in the summer, but we will have to take a fall trip one of these days. Exciting to see the black bear, huh?

    Always Growing

  2. Skyline Drive is so pretty. That is so exciting that you saw a bear. Whenever we drive through the Poconos (when we are headed to my parents) I am always looking out the window for bears. I have yet to see one, but maybe someday.

  3. Beautiful fall colors! And love the bear--I thought I saw claws in the first picture, then you confirmed what I thought!
    Those do look like asters--aren't they pretty!
    Thanks for sharing your fall drive with us!

  4. Oh, I can not resist a bear! So cute! with it's tan snout, just want to kiss it! Not a good idea though....stick to the stuffed one.
    I think the color is marvelous! Looks like you had a great trip.

  5. Beautiful drive--one of Americas most scenic places. I'm glad you got to see a black bear, I prefer the first group playing in the trees. Those were cute.

  6. That bear is just too cute! I like to drive through hills and mountains, there aren't too many around these parts though. Sounds like a wonderful trip.

  7. I love the Shenandoah Valley and up on the Skyline Drive! You're so lucky to get your black bear!

    My son is working on an archaeological project outside Corning, NY and they are seeing black bears almost everyday up there.

    Great fall colors! Thanks for the tour.

  8. How exciting that you were able to see that black bear! Hope you didn't get too close:) This must have been a fantastic drive--the fall colors are spectacular.

  9. Not a bad shot at all for going 75 miles an hour:) Great job! I think the bear videos came out excellent. Wow-so much color. I wish I knew what those red leaves were. I have no idea. Hopefully someone will know.

  10. Whata great experience to see a bear! When we lived next door to the Smokies we went up at least 3 times a year. We always hoped to see a bear. It wasn't until we were moving that we actually saw any. When we did there were 3 babies and a mother as well as another mother bear. What a day that was! Great post!

  11. Great fall photos. I love the milkweed: its play in black and white and shades of grays is a perfect foil to the colors in the trees.

  12. What a fantastic drive Skeeter. The colors are so vivid. And the bear---you were so lucky to see it. Sometimes pics taken at high speed turns out to be the best.
    I've also been up the Skyline Drive. It is breath taking.

  13. Gorgeous photos! I have only visited skyline drive once, but it was a memorable experience.

  14. Thank you Tina for the tip on Dave's fall color site! Love the trip down the Parkway. It has been many years since I took that beautiful drive. The bear was certainly a bonus!

  15. Those colorful mountain views are spectacular -- they look very much like our Cape Breton Highlands in all their autumn finery. Great addition to Dave's FCP!

  16. Jan, It was so exciting to see the bear. Do get back up into the mountains. They hold such beauty for the eyes and great memories to store....

    Cindy, Skyline drive is a beautiful drive no matter what time of year. Keep your eyes open and you may see that bear in time. This was my third trip to Skyline and we have seen bears on two of the drives but this is the first time I was able to stand below one and snap its picture...

    Meadowview, I was so busy taking short videos that I did not get any good pictures of the bear. This one still shot I shared was the best I did that day and yep, the claws were sticking out in the shot...

    Dawn, it was a great trip and I will share more of the vacation in time. The bears are cute but one must remember, they are wild animals and very unpredictable so be on your guard while photographing them. Everyone around me was just as amazed and excited as me with seeing this bear and so closely while he had lunch. Yep, best to kiss the stuffed ones instead though...

    Rose's and Lilacs, it is a scenic place to visit. I have been there during the summer and fall and now need to add a spring visit to the collection. Tina's picture of the bears turned out better then my picture! lol...

    Cinj, I like rolling hills and mountains also. We are lucky enough to have hills around us where we live here in GA and back home in TN as well. Flat is a bit boring dont you think? I hope you get to see a wild bear some day as it was a wonderful experience...

    Cameron, It was a great moment in my life to see the wild bear. I did not know there were bears in NY? I forget about the wilder side of NY and usually think of tall buildings and concrete parks but they do have a wilder side to the state. This must be a great experience and such a wonderful opportunity for your son...

    Rose, it was soooo exciting for me to see the bear! And yep, I did get a bit close to the bear with standing right under the tree it was in. I decided if it started to come down that I could run faster then some people I saw around me. lol. The colors were beautiful but not as much so with the oranges and reds that I wanted to see. Darn Drought...

    Tina, I get a lot of practice at photography going 75mps. If you want the Saint to stop, you have yell STOP or he will drive right past the moment. It is hard to stop along side the interstate so we dont do that silly thing for a picture. lol. I do wonder about those red leaves on the ground. Saint said he recalls something about wild cranberries being the mountains but we dont think that is cranberry. Pretty though....

    Dave, How exciting to see a mother bear with cubs! Did you snap pictures of them? Wow, that would be the ultimate wildlife moment in my mind. More and more bears are being seen in the Smokies so I reckon they are flourishing there...

    Robert, the milkweed pods were great! I had never seen them before and did not know that milkweed had pods. I need to learn more and seeing with my own eyes teaches me so much. Live nature is a great teacher...

    Lola, I am glad you have been up to Skyline Drive! It is such a beautiful drive and one all nature lovers should experience at some point in their life. The bear was so awesome to see and I am glad we had that experience and on such a beautiful fall day...

    Susan, I am glad you were on top of Skyline also. I was just telling Lola that I think every nature lover should have that experience as it is a beautiful place. And the bear was just a super bonus that day...

  17. Layanne, I have taken this ride 3 times now and am amazed at the beauty with each trip. The bear was a special bonus on that day...

    Nancy, I am noticing a similar color scheme on Dave’s Color Project. Yellow seems to be the prime color this year. Although some reds and oranges have been popping up with some lucky bloggers postings...

  18. The milkweed is great but the bear is awesome!!

    Skeeter, I guess you have never been to New York. I think there is much more open space and farmlands in NY than the tall buildings. There is even a diamond mine! The rolling hills with many gorgeous barns and fields of corn and cows make for a great ride in upstate NY. And guess what? Ole Blue Eyes is singing NY NY on the radio right now. Funny.

  19. A wonderful post- the bear videos were amazing! Loved the milk weed pod pictures- we used to have them when I was growing up in SD. We would spray paint the pods and do dried flower arrangements with them!

  20. Thank you so much for that trip down memory lane. I used to know Skyline Drive like the back of my hand, my dad had us up in the park practically every weekend of my childhood. Seeing the Big Meadows Area was like seeing an old friend. I didn't always appreciate it then but I do now. Just beautiful.

  21. It's been years since I've had the opportunity to see Skyline Drive. Thanks for sharing your visit with us. I found your foliage shots beautiful. The masses of trees were like a colorful quilt. How cool that you got to spot a bear in a tree!

  22. Hi Skeeter, how wonderful. You did a fabulous job capturing the bear and the yellow leaves at the same time! I have some crazy queen anne's lace blooming now too. It is a treat to see it at this time of year.

  23. Thanks for dropping by my blog.
    Was in Shenandoah in Spring 2005, saw a few black bears and the pink Lady's slippers - fantastic ! Didn't know so many plants still bloom in Falls...beautiful !

  24. Jean, I have been to New York. The Concrete city of NY that is... lol... I have heard that upper state is nothing like New York City but have yet to explore that area. Maybe when I get up your way, the Saint and I will explore upper NY, Maine and Niagara Falls on the same trip! How ironic Blue Eyes was on as you typed that....

    Dee, come to think of it, I have seen those pods in Floral Arrangements! Funny how the mind works as I had forgotten until you mentioned that! And here I had thought I had never seen them before. Oh, I need to stop this aging thing as my memory is not so great these days… lol...

    Kathleen, I am glad that I brought back wonderful memories for you today! It is strange how things dont seem so important when we are children. Big Meadows is usually our turn around point but with the bear in the tree before the meadow, we knew turning around would add another 45 or more minutes to our trip so on down we went. The traffic backs up so badly during a bear sighting. Did you ever see any bears in the park?

    Perennial, I have never thought of comparing the tree clusters to a quilt before. But I can see the resemblance of a beautiful quilt. Thanks for the comparison as it gives me a new look on things. The bear was awesome to say the least!

    Frances, it was fun spotting the bear and the excitement with everyone around me was a great experience as well. What is with that Lace? It seemed to me that you may be in the same zone as Skyline drive so I reckon the warm temps made the Lace pop out for a peek of Fall...

    Hort Log, Tina, our Master Gardener on this blog was your visitor. I will be sure to let her know you stopped by today. Thanks for peeking into our little garden world over here at In the Garden. I am glad you have been to Skyline drive. It is beautiful and how wonderful you saw bears also. I am hearing of more and more bear sighting in the mountains so assume they are producing and thriving these days....

  25. Skeeter! It is a beautiful drive and it does make me bit dizzy being a passenger on the roads. I want to stop all the time to take photos or look at flowers! It looks beautiful to me...the drought has been hard on the fall color, but it is still beautiful! Weren't we lucky you caught the bear sunning itself in the golden leaved tree! That is the closest I want to be to one...they move faster then I can run! Delightful p[ I want to take a road trip!


  26. A bear? How cool is that? That alone would have made my day.

  27. Yellow is one of my very favorite hues, so it always impresses me. But this time not as much as the sight of a real bear!

  28. Gail, although a bit dizzying, it was a fun dizzy of the brain cells. lol. With us having mostly pine trees here in GA, I will take the pretty yellows and golds but still looking for those vibrant reds and oranges. Maybe next year without a drought all over the south. Road trip? Someone say road trip? I'm packed, lets go! The bear was priceless. I was not worried about the bear eating me, there were some folks much slower then me so I knew I would be safe. :)

    Megan, the bear made the entire trip special! I kept telling everyone about the bear in the mountains more so then the color! I can still feel the excitement talking about it today! Just wish it had given me a better photo op. lol...

    Brenda, even though the yellows dont impress me much, they were very beautiful in the mountains. I just longed for the reds and oranges for so long now and just knew I would see tons up there. But the drought continues to follow me, even to VA…

    Our Drizzle has turned into a measurable rain fall of half inch today. Not expecting that after hand washing the autos yesterday! arggggg...

  29. I'm glad I got to see some pics of one of my favorite places. It will be as close as I can get this fall. I think your red leaves in Big Meadows may be Blueberry or Huckleberry. Bears love them too.

  30. Les, you are the first person to give me and idea of the red leaves! Thanks for the clues and I will look into those. Glad to share the views today...

  31. Les, I believe you are correct! Here is a sight I found on the Fall colors, huckleberry and blueberry in Big Meadows...

  32. That is awesome. My 6 year old cannot believe it is a real bear!
    What gorgeous photos.We were out running
    some errands today, and as we came over a hill, the colors were amazing.
    I wished I had my camera with me.

  33. great trip and lots of great things to see especially the black bear up in the yellow leaves.

  34. What a fun trip and what wonderful sights and colors that you've seen! A terrific fall drive!

  35. Hi Skeeter, thanks for visiting and saying hi! The Shenandoah Valley is a spectacular place for a fall drive. Gorgeous! I wish we weren't so far away. I'd love to see it in person, but your beautiful photos are the next best thing.
    How awesome to see the bear! Thanks for sharing the video. I was surprised to see Q. Anne's Lace still blooming here last week. Yes, those are wild asters. Pretty, aren't they?

  36. I love all your pictures. I was in the Great Smoky National Park (I think), a place called Cosby Campground. Upon entering there are tons of warning that it is a Habitat for bears. NEVER in a million years did I even give it a second thought except to make sure my food was put away. But the FIRST day there we saw three black bears. Two of them were less than a hundred feet from a trail head. AMAZING! Your bear was so cute.

  37. Hi there my beautiful daughter! I know you have commented at least once before but I am shocked you are on here. But it is nice. Still coming this weekend, not sure what day. Looking forward to seeing the new house! Christine is still doing fine. Got some plans made but need to make reservations on post. ttyl love mom

  38. Skeeter--Great shots--fall has definitely come to Virginia. The bear was a cutie, but I'm glad they don't show up around here . . Tina, have a great visit with your daughter (and safe travels).

  39. Kate, this time of year is wonderful with beautiful color and surprises around every corner. The bear was real and such a treat for us to see...

    Marmee, seeing the bear at all was a treat but in the golden leafed tree was an extra bonus!

    DP, it was a spectacular drive up the mountain and down the mountain as well. Their Web site is reporting that the valley below is now full of color.

    Kerri, it is nice to partake in Daves views around the country for fall colors. Next best thing to being there for me! I would love to take a trip starting in Canada and follow the color as it changes to the Deep South. That would take about two months though so probably something to think about during the retirement years. One more to add to the Bucket List I guess. :)

    Liz, How great you saw three bears in the Smokies. My favorite mountains are the Smokies but I am from TN so to be expected. :) The first time I saw Alligator warning signs down here in GA I was like you and did not take them too seriously, Then we saw a gator. ARggg, believe those signs! They are there for a reason....

    Tina, you better get them reservations made or you may be sleeping in the car! lol... Have fun with Liz...

    Cosmo, What we saw in VA was pretty but my mother in law now tells me things are beautiful with lots of color so we were a bit early for the vibrant colors. I am sure the cold snap we had while there and the rains had something to do with the changes...

  40. Absolutely beautiful autumn colours. You've so much more space in the States for those glorious vistas to really get going!

  41. Hello VP, thanks for stopping by. I loved the lush green rolling hills and beautiful countryside of York when in the UK....

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