Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Shenandoah National Park, Day Four, Part Two: Doyle River Falls and Jones Run Falls

This is the final post of a travel series to Shenandoah National Park.  If you'd like to start at the beginning, go HERE.  Day Two is HERE, and Day Three is HERE, and Day Four, Part One is HERE.


Our very last hike in Shenandoah National Park was our hardest hikes, but it was one of the most beautiful hikes of them all.  The weather was absolute perfection:  a sunny, 70 degree day.  We were on the quest to see two more waterfalls:  Doyle River Falls and Jones Run Falls, but we had no idea the entire trail would be filled with lots of waterfalls!


The Doyles River Trailhead is a beautiful trek through the wilderness that takes you along cool, clear mountain streams to two unique waterfalls.  There is one stream crossing where you have to walk on rocks to cross.


If you only go to the Doyles River Falls (we went farther to see Jones Run Falls) the trail is a 3.3 mile round trip hike.  It is rated as Moderate, although I would probably rate it as Difficult because on the return trip, you are hiking straight uphill all the way.  However, we did just hike a long hike in the morning too, so our energy could have been depleted from that. It takes 2 hours and 15 minutes to hike and has an elevation gain of 1,189 feet.  

There are so many smaller waterfalls along the trail where one could stop and take a dip and get refreshed!


This is Upper Doyles Falls.  It has two levels or drops, and of course my crazy adventurous son had to climb on top of it.  


This waterfall is only 28 feet tall (it looks so much taller than that, doesn't it?), but it so beautiful!


I always enjoy waterfalls where you can get to the base and look up rather than from an observation deck above.


We saw lots of wildflowers on this trail, like this perennial geranium.

This was one of my most favorite photos my husband took of our vacation.  I just love how it captures the scenic beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance with the water in the foreground.


There were so many great rock formations on this trail!


This is the Lower Doyles River Falls.  This one is taller, at 63 feet.


The lower falls may be taller, but I was far more impressed with the beauty of the upper falls.



Well at this point, you could turn around and go back the way you came, but my hubby and son really wanted to see Jones Run Falls.  I wasn't sure that was a great idea, as we were pretty spent by now, but this was our last day in the park and we wanted to make the most of it, so we pushed on.  


I couldn't believe all the beautiful, moss covered rocks on this trail.



The Jones Run Trail coming from the Doyles River Fall Trail was BEAUTIFUL.  It was very rugged however, and muddy, and there were a couple of treacherous areas to get through.  As always, I was grateful to have my poles for stability.



I always feel when I'm hiking these type of trails that I'm in a magical fairyland.  Oh, this trail was stunning!  Water flowing, moss covered rocks everywhere...it was breath taking!  And did I mention how peaceful it was?  We hardly ran into anyone on the trail and felt we had the whole forest to ourselves!


Although we were so tired, the extra miles were worth it because Jones Run Falls is beautiful.  It is only 42 feet tall, but it is like a wide semi circle and the water flows gracefully over black rock.


We were so proud we made it!  


If you only wanted to hike the Jones Run Falls Trailhead, it is a 3.2 mile round trip hike, rated as Moderate, with an elevation gain of 1,045 feet.  It takes 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete.

There is also a loop called the "Browns Gap Hike" where you can see both the Doyle River and Jones Run falls.  That hike is a 6.5 mile circuit hike, rated as Moderately Strenuous, and takes 7 hours of hiking time with an elevation gain of 1,400 feet.  We didn't have seven hours, so we just hiked to the waterfalls and back.  I think we added about two miles to our trip, making the total 5.3 miles or more.




We couldn't believe all the other stunning waterfalls that were on this trail.  I swear, the whole trail is nothing but waterfalls, and only two had names.  My son asked "I wonder why they name some falls and not others?"




If you love water, waterfalls, and magical forests, this is the hike for you!  I think it's also a great hike to get away from the crowds, as not a lot of people were on this trail.


And finally, here is a video of Jones Run Falls so you can get a little glimpse of the moving water that photos just can't capture.



 Well, that concludes my Shenandoah National Park travel series.  I regret to inform you that I don't know when or if I'll be taking another vacation.  We usually take a fall vacation but this year with the uncertainty of the times and the rising gas prices, we are hesitant to plan another road trip.  It makes me sad.  I long for the $2.00 a gallon gas and world peace we had before the current administration took over.  We do hope that we will at least be able to drive to Indiana in late summer and early fall to spend some time with the grandkids, but with the downward spiral our country is taking, who knows if that will be possible.  I pray that at least that little bit of joy will not be taken from me too.

Hoping for Better Times Ahead!  Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Sunday, May 22, 2022

My Spring Garden Tour: Flowering Trees and Blooming Bulbs

Oh, it's so exciting to publish my first gardening post of the year!  We had one of the coldest springs on record and everyone was beginning to wonder if warm weather would ever come.  It really put me behind on spring gardening chores because I couldn't get outside to do anything because it was so cold.  Then finally, the week before Mother's Day it warmed up and everything seemed to come up and bloom all at once.  And boy, did it ever warm up.  We had one day where it was 94 degrees and a heat advisory!  We went from 40 to 94 in a week's time.  It was ridiculous.  But hopefully, the warm weather is here to stay now.

Let's begin the tour of my spring garden, shall we?

Flowering Bulbs

Daffodils


Other than the crocus (sorry no pictures.  It was too cold to go outside and take pictures of the crocus) daffodils are the first bulb to bloom in the spring.  I have quite the large and extensive daffodil collection but I have long since forgotten all their names.  I love them because they keep reproducing every year, but I don't like digging them up and dividing them. 








Tulips


I don't have quite as many tulips as I do daffodils as they are not as prolific.  But I love tulips! They are my favorite spring flower.








Scilla


And this little guy I never planted.  He must have come from the previous home owner, but he is pretty prolific too as he keeps sprouting new plants all over my garden.

Blooming Trees and Shrubs


Crabapples are my favorite tree.  I have four large crabapple trees:  Two white and two pink.  I also have lots of baby crab apple trees that I hope will soon grow big.


I have a pretty shady yard, so I love Vibernums.  They grow well in shady yards.  I have many different varieties.  This is the first Viburnum bush to bloom every spring.


Here are some close ups of it's blooms:



The lilacs are just starting to open up.  You will have to wait till next month to see more of these beauties!


And this is a "Purple Leaf Sand Cherry".  It doesn't really do well in my yard.  I have had it for years, and some springs I thought it was dead.  But this year, it looks pretty nice!


And I have no idea what kind of tree this is.  It is found growing on the road sides in Wisconsin and somehow made it to my garden.  I left it there for years, wondering what it would become.  I thought, "If I don't like it, I can always chop it down later".  Well, to my surprise, it bloomed this year!  It had never bloomed before, so I think this one will be a keeper.


Early Blooming Perennials

Bleeding Heart


The king of my spring garden is the Bleeding Heart.  Oh my goodness, this plant is a weed in my yard.  It reseeds everywhere and the seedlings are almost impossible to pull out.  I can't believe how much they charge for these plants in nurseries when they reseed so easily.  I do love them though.  What a beautiful and unique flower, eh?


Here's an example of how they reseed.  I never planted any of these Bleeding Hearts...somehow they reseeded all the way across the yard and into my Hosta bed.


Creeping Phlox and Lamiastrum


I used to have a hillside of Creeping Phlox but as the trees matured the shade killed them.  Now I just have a few patches here and there.  The yellow flowering plant is Lamiastrum.  I have been working really hard trying to dig this plant up and get it out of my garden as it is quite invasive.  I think it's winning the battle, but I refuse to surrender. 

Ferns and Lamium


Another plant that took over my garden was ferns.  I've been digging up and tossing these beauties too.   I'm trying to create a garden only for Hosta as the ferns and Lamistrum are too invasive.  I have a lot of Laminum too, which is also invasive, but that one at least grows very low to the ground and is easy to pull up.

Hosta


The Hosta is just starting to push it's way up out of the ground.  This will be the first year in a long time where the Hosta won't have burnt tips.  The past several years they came up, then we had a late frost, and the leaves were ruined.

Cushion Spurge


Cushion Spurge is one of my favorite early perennials, but I think I say that about whatever is in bloom at the moment.  It reseeds a lot, but the seedlings are really easy to pull so I don't mind.  


Here is a long range view of my "Septic Mound Garden" as I like to call it, as it is my septic mound.  Hubby didn't want to mow it so we made a garden out of it.  In about a month, it will be so green and lush you won't even be able to see the ground.


And what would a spring garden be without spring birds?  I love it when all the birds return to the garden in the spring:  Rosebreasted Grosbeaks, Blue Indigo Buntings, Hummingbirds, etc. but my favorite of all is the Orioles.  This year I was super excited to see so many of them.  Enjoy this video of Orioles eating at my feeder, and if you watch closely enough, you'll see a little hummingbird buzz in there as well!



And finally, I can't end a garden post without a picture of Jackson.  He too was so happy spring arrived so he could finally get out on his screened-in porch (his "Catio") and enjoy the weather.  When this picture was taken, I didn't even have my vegetable garden in yet.  Now it's all done, and I am just sitting back waiting for everything to pop out of the ground.


I hope you enjoyed my Spring Garden Tour!  

Have A Great Day!  Amy

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