finally two of the biggest surprises....
We were having such a good time, being away from the crush of people and the noise and commotion of our daily lives, and up at about 4,000 feet on Skyline Drive we took a hike up and up on a path to a mountain summit, and through the trees I saw the most incredible sight.... a huge pile of boulders (called talus, comprised of Hampton quartzite) strewn from the summit of the mountain that we were approaching, all the way down the mountainside.
It was the most incredible view, all this rock in a frozen cascade down the mountain. A sign had warned of rattlesnakes and we met some other hikers, men with big heavy packs. We stayed for a while here in this foreign landscape, at the top of a mountain. It was beautiful.
We spent the day exploring Skyline Drive, our last day in the mountains, and at mile marker 12 at the end of the day (and almost the end of our vacation) we came around a bend in the road, and there
was a bear!
Oh joy! My first bear in the wild... after all those years in the woods growing up in Pennsylvania. I had so hoped to see a bear on this trip and here was a beautiful brown bear snuffling and digging for treats under rocks with some very long claws. What a beautiful bear! I took frames and frames of pictures from the car window. My trip was complete!
This time away was so rare and precious and centering and did me so much good. Refreshed and renewed to return to daily life.