Friday, April 22, 2011

Holy Week Visit

Spring break and Holy Week usually coincide so we had the pleasure of a visit from four of our grandkids and enjoyed several fun outings. Our visit began with dinner at the Melting Pot, a pizza place in Front Royal which had absolutely no atmosphere (maybe grunge) but had good food. We met our daughter and her husband to make the exchange in the midst of a wild thunderstorm accompanied by hail. Fortunately, by the time we were ready to leave, the storms had moved out.

Sunday was Mass day and, since Larry and I had tickets for Groucho at Wayside Theatre, Marianna came over to play. Later on Brendan said the thing he liked best about the weekend was playing with Marianna. Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of them together. But it was sweet to see the eleven-year-old wooing his shy little two-year-old cousin.

Monday was our big outing day with a trip to Skyline Drive for a picnic and hike. A nice young man offered to take our picture at one of the overlooks, our only photo of all of us together. What a view!

We stopped at the Pinnacles picnic area which is at the top of a ridge and unprotected which makes it chilly and breezy. We were chasing napkins and using ice to weight our cups.

Before moving on to hike the Limberlost Trail, Lauren played Queen on the mountain (or the big rock anyway).

The Limberlost Trail is 1.3 miles and handicap accessible which means it has a firm surface and is nice and wide, although we ran into a ranger in one spot that was rough and rutted from recent rains. He was working with a rake which looked hopeless. He said they had already done the trail earlier, but would have to bring in bigger equipment to get it back into shape for the season. The trail was a good choice because it's mostly level and easy with plenty of diversions like big fallen trees and huge rocks for scrambling over and walking on, a wooden bridge over a stream, and cut tree trunks that made stumps for sitting or climbing. There are plenty of benches along the trail for taking rest breaks too.

I was fascinated by the natural arch made by the bent tree trunk in the photo below.

Sean is usually intrepid and resists any help when we are out hiking, but we apparently wore him out. He took a break on Paka's shoulders.

Nearing the parking lot at the end of the trail which makes a big loop.

With a stop planned for custard, we had no complaints about the ride back. Only one disappointment, we didn't see a bear. As a matter of fact we saw hardly any wildlife at all, but there were lots of visitors to the park and with four noisy kids, we must have been a scary group. The animals were apparently lying low -- except for this critter. it a giraffe? a seahorse? a unicorn?

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