Saturday, June 16, 2007

Shenandoah Valley Trip Day 3

Day 3 of the Shenandoah Valley Trip had several positive surprises! We continued down US Rt #11 from New Market into Harrisonburg. More interesting barns and buildings appeared.
Courtesy of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail Book (which may be ordered from the Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries Department for $8.50, or you can view sections on-line), we became aware of Lake Shenandoah just east of Harrisonburg—just off of US Rt #33. This delightful lake setting includes a place to launch canoes, kayaks, and small boats offered quite a variety of birds and ducks. Pictures of them may be seen below. We set up our chairs and sat there for several hours. An excerpt from the website describes the trail:

“From the Atlantic Ocean on Virginia's eastern border, to the towering Mt. Rogers at its southwest corner, the Commonwealth includes every bird and animal habitat that occurs naturally between Maine and Florida. The state also offers a long history, rich culture, and tradition of warm hospitality to welcome visitors.

Within Virginia's 43,000 square miles of diverse natural habitat, you can find some 400 species of birds, 250 species of fish, 150 species of terrestrial and marine animals, 150 species of amphibians and reptiles, and a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates. The Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail celebrates this diversity. In fact, it is the first statewide program of its kind in the United States. In Virginia, three phases of the trail link wildlife viewing sites throughout the state.”

After Lake Shenandoah, we headed further east on Rt #33 to Elkton, Va., just short of the entrance to Skyline Drive. From here, we proceeded up US Rt #340, the “other” Valley highway. From here to Luray, you are driving alongside the South Fork of the Shenandoah River—Skyline Drive on your right, and the Massanutten Mountain on your left. This is a beautiful drive—mountains on both sides of you.

Our destination was Luray, Va., home of the Luray Caverns and headquarters of the Shenandoah National Park. Luray is also home to a birding trail—the Luray-Hawksbill Greenway along Hawksbill Creek (which comes down from Skyline Drive).

We camped at another resort-style RV campground: Country Waye. [ ] It is well set up to handle large RV rigs and has spotless, impeccable restrooms and bathhouse. It is located just two miles north of Luray proper, just off of US Rt #340 by Kimball. The site is nestled in between Skyline Drive and the Massanutten Mountain—with a 270 degree view of the mountains. Kennedy Peak is prominent to the west. You may take Bixler’s Ferry Road out of Luray and onto the road to Camp Roosevelt in the George Washington National Forest to reach a trail head to Kennedy Peak, which has an observatory overlooking the valley below.

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