After Monticello, we got to enjoy our camping spot at Big Meadows in the Big Shenandoah National Forest the second day. We weren’t quite expecting the very, very rusticness of it – nor the tons of dog poo all over our camp site, but the rangers were really nice and cleaned it all up for us.
There was also running water a long walk away, showers you had to have quarters to pay for, so we couldn’t have; no electric plug to charge my phone, despite a powerline running through the middle of our camp site; and a bear problem.
Still, we slept well and lived on hot dogs and sandwiches for a few days. I’m not sure I can eat hot dogs for a long time after this trip, but the girls didn’t complain.
We picked up camp early the next day, and drove over to the meadow trails. One side had a hike that wound down into a woodland with creeks and waterfalls.
We found wild blackberries and raspberries.
It was cool and beautiful in the woods and woodland wildflowers bloomed beside the path.
There was a nettle we were stung by with huge leaves and lacy white flowers, and what we think was a little hydroelectric generator behind the hobbit door we found.
Clothilde was a little bit of a pain insisting on walking further and further downhill, then refusing to head back, and then dragging her feet all the way back very, very slowly, but we finally got her back and were able to explore the meadow – which was what I had hoped to explore while we were here.
The meadow was so beautiful, spreading out under the clouds in different shades of green, drifting with butterflies.We could look along the boggy landscape and see how the water changed by the plants that grew.
Flowers like yarrow, milkweed, clover and rudbeckia bloomed in the dry spots, and circles of ferns brushed along the wetter places.
Where the ground turned marshy there were green-and-gold-flowered lilies and small, bright pink flowers between the sphagnum moss, like fairy gardens.
In among the ferns we came to mirrored pools, printed with deer hooves, reflecting the sky. In the distance deer were browsing. They are all very tame throughout the park.
I could have spent all day here, but a dark cloud was thundering over the edge of the mountain. We have been wildly lucky with rain so far – the rain gods would clear away as we arrived at a new place, and then appear rumbling overhead just in time for us to go.