shenandoah national park

i love adventures, i'm sure you probably know this. i also have TERRIBLE luck. combine the two and there's always something exciting going on right? so db and i wanted to go camping somewhere awesome and epic for our anniversary, so he found the "most rustic" camp ground in shenandoah national park and we planned a trip. we were supposed to go saturday through monday, hike around, smell nature, hear birds, look at things like leaves and dirt and maybe even see some stars, seeing as we can really get none of those things in the middle of philadelphia. well here recounts the tail of the amusingly thorough disaster that was our long weekend.

wednesday prior - totally getting the "shop plague", i'm the last in the long line of everyone to get a death cold.
thursday-friday - those days happened? i don't know, i slept and drank fluids and suffered while full of dread.
saturday, planned day of adventure - i'm still too sick to convince dillon to go to virginia. at first i was really upset and lying and in denial about it... then i fell asleep for the rest of the day.

sunday - being disaster adventure! gnats i convinced db to go with much pouting and guilt. this is a pic from our first scenic overlook on skyline drive. see those grey blurs in the sky? gnats for dayz. so we drove 4 hours, got to the campsite and the camp store was closed because db thought it was open an hour longer than reality. no firewood. as i sat in the car sick and ripshit, he made friends with a loner dude from nh at another campsite and got some wood. so we now had wood, and someone i was convinced was going to murder us in the night. our "rustic campsite" was in reality a landscaped parking lot with sites like 5 feet apart (no joke), emo boys playing guitar and also bezerk 7ish year old twin girls dressed identically. basically it was the set of a horror movie. our site was a parking spot with gravel to set up on and a broken picnic table. i set up the tent and rain fly because there was a chance of passing thunder storms, it was so wet out we were literally in a cloud and couldn't get the fire going and had to give up when the rain started. then it POURED FOR 12 HOURS STRAIGHT. it also didn't help that i thought our friend was going to murder us in the night and that we were right in the middle of a game trail. lots of scary sounds that could have killed us passed within two feet of my head. at least the tent was way impressively waterproof.

woke up and it was still pouring. checked the radar and broke down the tent the second there was a 5 minute break in the rain. uzo was not pleased! he wouldn't leave the tent, it was actually kind of cute. so i put him in the car with the door open and usually he'd hop out and follow me around... but not this time. he just sat in his bed sadly watching us in the rain. since it was raining and totally not walk in the woods-able (and uzo and db had both gotten ticks) we drove to luray caverns. it's underground so it wouldn't matter it was raining! we could even take uzo down so of course i dressed him up in his little boy clothes and we went for it. uzo: 6, screaming human child: ZERO. yeah, my dog is better than a kid. anyways, that place was insane and to be perfectly honest my pictures now not standing there in 3d just look like a very odd mess of wet goop. so we carried uzo around for an hour and a half in this crazy cave and the power kept going out (a perk, not a complaint, it was really kind of novel, except for this negative side effect). here is "dream lake" luray caverns
when we emerged it was sunny and gross hot so we got back on skyline drive to start home and hopefully see some actual scenic vistas. instead we saw this... skyline drive
where are we?! the damn twilight zone or something?!? skyline drive can permanently go fuck itself! it also didn't help that i didn't get to enjoy anything we meant to do ie: smell dirt or anything nature-y (my cold), walk in leaves (weather) or see stars (more weather). happily, the weather was kind enough to give us this nice view less than 10 minutes later shenandoah
i really love how in every picture that involves uzo and something interesting to look at he's looking in some other direction truly not giving any shits. i also took a pic of him peeing in his first national park, he even looked at the camera... it was like he knew it was awesome. after this overlook we stopped at every single one that had any sort of clear weather near it and as we started descending the mountains we could hear cicadas! it was hard to believe that it was bugs making that sound, it was deafening. here's a poor quality video of the cicadas singing, i couldn't get it to embed right. i'm a little sad you can't see them flying around too much, but just try to imagine what a beehive looks like with all the bees flying around in clouds and then just know that those entire TREES were visibly like that with cicadas. also, the song was throbbing which the vid didn't catch, but it was like they were all singing one pulsing huge brain song together. it was absolutely insane. i remember 17 years ago when they last emerged up north, but this was totally different being in the center of the action. really, really cool. this is the first one i saw when we stopped to see if i could catch onebrood 2
which i did with absolute glee in less than a minute. and by "catch" i mean "trick into crawling onto my hand" because i'm a strange insect whisperer (one of my many very awesome skills) and taking the risk of harming one of these amazing things for a better look isn't my jam anywaysbrood 2
and here concludes our ridiculous camping adventure to shenandoah national park. these are the lessons we learned:
- mountains being high "in the clouds" is not a poetic saying, it's literal. and being in clouds is wet and boring no matter what your childhood imagination says.
- caves are fun even if it's raining. (don't go kill yourself with that bit of wisdom)
- smelling nature is impossible with a stuffy nose.
- the big agnes jack rabbit sl3 is an incredibly waterproof tent.
and that cicadas are the coolest things ever.

also, we learned that every june 11 it rains. what a weird universe we all live in.

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