On a crisp fall morning, earlier this fall we loaded up into the car and headed to Shenandoah National Park. This was a day trip we’d been talking about doing since we moved here, since it’s only a couple hours drive from our house. Shenandoah was actually the first national park I ever visited, way back when I was a young teenager. I remember that it was the middle of August, it was hot, and all the campgrounds were crowded, as were the trails. It wasn’t exactly the idyllic scene that you see when watching documentaries. But, I also remember piling into a van and riding up and down Skyline Drive at dusk, and how it was amazing, and beautiful, and unlike anything I had ever seen. At this point in my life, I was already an avid fan of the outdoors, of hiking, and exploring, and wearing flannel (ha!), but this trip introduced me to the grandeur that is a national park, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
It was exciting for me to share this park with DB and our boys. It’s a pretty kid friendly place, many of the trails are suitable for little legs, though others are rocky. We carried the Bear in a backpack and Cubby had a great time in his carrier. The Bear also walked during both short hikes and is now obsessed with going to the woods and having adventures. For us, that planting that seed in him and his brother is a huge goal for us as parents. Be wild and free, Bears.
If you go, I recommend visiting in the off season, the fall or the spring (though avoid October weekends) when it will feel like you have the place to yourself and you’ll be able to experience the peace, calm, and beauty that the park has to offer. I took a trip through in November of 2009, which I blogged about here.