Sunday, September 26, 2010

A camping we have gone, Part One

Alrighty, this has only taken me forever to get around to.  It's totally worth it though.

So, as a wee bairn (well, technically probably around 4th grade) we lived in Virgina, and went to the Shenandoah National Park for vacations, typically with family friends Marion and Allen (M&A for the purpose of these posts).  We started staying at the Lodge and graduated to camping.  This last Labor Day weekend, Scott and I went camping there with my parents and M&A.  Scott took some really lovely photos.  He also took some photos of me (hah!).  Seriously, who looks like a fresh daisy when camping?  And if they do: assholes, you make the rest of us look bad (worse?).

So, we were seriously late getting on the road on Saturday.  We got to the park and headed up Skyline Drive to the campground, which was by Big Meadow.  They maintain the meadow, and it used to be about 10x the current size (well, when Teddy was prez).  As a kid, we would wander it, collect blueberries and scare deer who were also collecting blueberries.

View of the meadow from the visitor's center.  It looks totally fake doesn't it?  There used to be a big tree in the center, but it was apparently stuck by lightening, and thus, no big tree.

Scott also takes pictures of us in front of stuff.  People offer to take a pictures for us, but it kind of defeats the purpose.  It's kind of a thing now:

Hello camp and hello beer!  Well, a shandy, technically.


People decorate their sites.

So, since we got in so late (5ish, after we stopped at the Visitor's Center), my folks were working on dinner.  My dad had already set up our tent (yay!), so we got our bedding set up and what not, and we all just puttered around the camp.  We set shit on fire, had dinner (salmon, sweet potatoes, salad).

Monarch Butterfly Chrysalis
And then we went exploring the camp area.  It turns out, it was monarch butterfly season!  We searched out the chrysalises.  Scott took a ton of pics of them, but you'll have to be content with just this one (or you can go to his picasa stream and look at them all.  As they get closer to hatching (uncocooning?), they get more transparent, and you can see the lines in the wings.  The gold flecks get more metallic, and it just looks awesome.

We settled back at the site, waiting for 3 stars, and did the havdalah.  As we sat, burning more things, I leaned back in my chair and looked up.  HOLY CRAP!  I haven't seen so many stars since we stopped in the middle of the desert.  After some discussion, we decided to head over to the Big Meadow to look at the stars.

The Big Dipper

Using Jupiter to make a heart
So, there were other people there, with telescopes.  The dude with the 10incher couldn't get it to work (hah), so we had to settle for a 6in.  The very nice couple showed us M31, which is our nearest large neighbor galaxy, and Jupiter, which is, uhm, a planet you should already know about!  It was pretty freaking awesome.

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