July 20, 2013 [LINK / comment]

Various random day trips

Notwithstanding time constraints owing to the fact that I am teaching summer school classes for the first time this year, I have managed to get out into the Great Outdoors on a fairly regular basis. Jacqueline and I have taken various day trips over the past couple months, and I am almost caught up on posting some of the better photos on the new Summer 2013 photo gallery page. What follows are the highlights, in reverse chronological order (most recent first).

Yesterday, on July 19, we drove across the Blue Ridge to the Chiles peach orchard, where the juicy fruits are just about at peak harvest season. We have been there several times before, but this is the first time we decided to save a little money and pick the peaches ourselves. It was a very hot day, and the peach ice cream we had afterwards really hit the spot. It is a very scenic part of Albemarle County, just west of Crozet, which is growing by leaps and bounds. (We drove through some of the dense housing developments that were portrayed in the movie Evan Almighty, starring Steve Carrell and Morgan Freeman.) On the way home, I surprised Jacqueline by suggesting that we turn left at the intersection of Route 151 and 250, cleverly taking advantage of the fact that we were so close to the Blue Mountain Brewery, in Nelson County. Their "Full Nelson" pale ale is a true delight for a beer connoisseur, and the company is a prime example of the burgeoning craft brewing industry in the Old Dominion.

Chiles peach orchard

Chiles peach orchard, in Albemarle County, July 19.

On July 14, we took a long drive through the Lyndhurst area, passing Sherando Lake and ascending to the Blue Ridge Parkway at the village of Love. After stopping at various overlooks, we reached our destination at Humpback Rocks, which we climbed. (See the July 18 blog post.)

Humpback Rocks meadow

Humpback Rocks meadow, July 14. The Rattlesnake we saw was in this area.

On July 6 I made a solo trek into the central section of Shenandoah National Park, doing some birding around Pocosin Cabin and other places. On the way, I stopped to take a photo of Saint Stephen & Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, a few miles southwest of Elkton. I drove a few miles past Big Meadows and took some photos of Page County from an overlook.

On June 14 and 28 we took casual drives into the southern section of Shenandoah National Park. There were quite a few mushrooms to be seen the latter day, and plenty of birds on both days. On the way back on June 14, we stopped at one of the Port Republic battlefield historial markers, at a place known as "The Coaling." That happens to be located across the street from the picturesque Grace Episcopal Church.

Pine trees, clouds at SNP

Pine trees, clouds, and Skyline Drive, in Shenandoah National Park, June 28.

Grace Episcopal Church, Port Republic

Grace Episcopal Church, Port Republic, June 14.

To conclude this account at the chronological beginning, my friend Dave Givens and I drove through the back streets of northwest Washington to get to the baseball game on June 8. En route to Nationals Park, we we got stuck in traffic around the Tidal Basin, so I used the opportunity to take a photo of the Washington Monument, which is under repair because of the damage from the earthquake two years ago.

Washington Monument, 2013

Washington Monument, with scaffolding during repairs, June 8.

Still to come: Lots of mushroom photos, from recent treks into the back woods.