A couple weeks ago we celebrated Larry's birthday. It was a very important birthday - worthy of several days of celebration - but I'll write more about that later.
On his actual birthday, I convinced him to play hooky from work and we headed west to Shenandoah National Park for a day in the mountains.
I imagine that people who have never been here envision Virginia looking like this.
If only the whole state was this beautiful!
By June in Virginia, it is often already too hot to hike. But if you are lucky enough to get a temperate day, it always amazes me how green everything is in June - after a rainy May and before the inevitable droughts in July and August, for a few weeks everything is growing like crazy and eye-poppingly green.
We hiked the White Oak Canyon Trail. We didn't bring the dogs with us, so we were able to stop for lunch along the way and hike at our own pace without two male dogs needing to pee on everything.
The best surprise was that the mountain laurel were in full bloom. I have a near obsession with mountain laurel (so much so that See Mountain Laurel in Bloom was an item on my Summer List! Check!). I have a vivid childhood memory of hiking somewhere surrounded by blooming laurels and I've been obsessed with recreating that experience. I still don't know where the memory is from, but I was ecstatic when we drove into the park and the woods were just full of it. Beautiful.
It was frustrating to photograph. Mountain laurel doesn't really show up well in pictures, but the woods were just full of it as far as you could see.
As for the rest of the hike, I'll let the pictures do the talking...