A Road Through the Wilderness: Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park came of age in the same era as the automobile. In the museum at the Harry F. Byrd Visitors Center, at milepost 51 of Shenandoah’s 105 mile Skyline Drive, a preserved “See the USA in a Chevrolet!” advertisement reminds visitors that the park was designed to comfortably bridge the gap between the wilderness and the suburbs.
The park, which spans the length of Skyline Drive, is broken up into north, central and south sections. The north end is 75 miles south of Washington, D.C., and day-hikers and casual leaf-peepers populate the overlooks. Further south, expect to see more Appalachian Trail through-hikers and distance cyclists; given the intermittent tourist traffic, the scenic overlooks in the south have a more isolate quality.
Spotlights, Amy Beth Wright
An Essential Guide to South Florida’s Four National Parks and Preserves
With many adventures from the Everglades to the Keys, find out what South Florida has to offer!
Spotlights, Parks & Points
I hear a heavy thud and the bright ringing of a metal pot hitting rock. I turn to see Ava, the newest client, running. “I’m on it!” my co-guide Connor shouts from the back of the line. He drops his pack and chases her down the mountain we’ve been diligently climbing. Still within sight, she slows. She laces her hands on top of her head and paces the narrow trail in tight circles. There is a drop-off to one side, a sturdy row of tulip poplar trees lining the other.
The Atlanta metro area National Parks Service units distill poignant moments in American history, including the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement. As well, the ecological sites are strikingly beautiful, restorative, and ripe with recreational opportunities.
Spotlights, Parks & Points
Spotlight: Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel, Florida
My family and I are standing at the top of Ding Darling’s wooden observation tower admiring the refuge’s long stretch of water, undisturbed landscape, colorful birds and all-around beauty when we hear a jarring and unmistakable sound.
CRUNCH! We look out to the water. “What is it,” my daughter asks. Near the shore, an eight-foot American alligator devours a Frisbee-sized horseshoe crab. The gator’s jaws are deceptively closed, but after a few minutes its mouth opens, and the doomed crab flops inside the gator’s mouth.
Spotlights, Chris Umpierre with additional reporting by Amy Beth Wright
Morning Along The Blue Ridge
“The High Country sky this morning seems to be constantly changing, with large white billows and blue sky. From an old rocker on the cabin's front porch, I take note of the branches above that are covered with light green strands of moss. I also observe the sunshine glimmering off the leaves along the wooded hillside. A heavy fog, below the hillside, hides the lower woodland and stream that I know is there, as I traversed its steep road to get to here. What a gorgeous morning in these mountains!”