Rattlesnakes

Edge of Shenandoah National Park (934.7)
Day 71 (6/20/19) R
Miles – 22.7
Total miles – 966.9

We woke early and headed over to breakfast by 6:00. After pancakes and French toast, we headed back to the room to close up the packs. Our ride was coming at 7:30. Not wanting to be late, we walked to the front of the hotel 5 minutes early, she was waiting for us. The sky was filled with clouds and today’s forecast called for 50% chance of thunderstorms. With a lots of good food in our stomachs, we hiked out at a good pace. We covered the first eight miles easily and we got to our last Wayside store around 11:00. Thus we decided to have an early lunch because this particular Wayside had a grill! Excitedly, we ordered grill cheese sandwiches, burger, chili fries, soup, and milkshakes. All these food stores along the trail are spoiling us. However this will be the last one that we are aware of for a long time. We definitely have enjoyed them! We left good and full. The clouds continued to threaten and sprinkled for a short time. At one point we saw a very fat rattlesnake that had recently eaten. It was too full to do much of anything, not even rattle at us. It just sat there off to one side. Later we saw a baby constrictor that had also eaten. It just waddled down the trail. In the late afternoon we saw another rattlesnake. The rattlesnake look like the diamond backs we have in San Diego, but they are much darker. Black is their main color. We are uncertain what type they are however we guess they are the Timber rattler.
The trail crossed Skyline Drive many times. Sometimes at a gap other times you can walk to a parking lot or a turnout for a view. Feeling starved for a view and wide open sky, periodically we took the road. We choose to eat dinner at a turnout, which provided us with beautiful views as we ate. After dinner, we bumped into the Tilton family, who is sectioning the Shenandoah’s. They are a family of nine, seven kids and two adults. The kids ranged from age five to fourteen. Their plan is to piece together an AT hike over the next few summers. Kudos for them! Mama Ravens says the parents deserve parents of the year! We wish them luck. Tonight we are camped on a dirt road just shy of the Shenandoah National Park boundary. It was the only place we could find to set up camp for the night because of the thick under brush. It’s dark and we are tired so we set up camp. We should be out of here in the morning before anybody is out and about.

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