Sunday, September 20, 2015

Ian camping with the Boy Scouts

Ian had a campout with his new Troop this weekend, and had a blast!  The Scoutmaster has a house on Lake Anna, and hosted the Troop for this campout.  Saturday was a full day of activities, which Ian used to work towards his advancement to Second-Class Scout.

The water there was super warm, about 80-85F, so the boys spent about 4 hours swimming and jumping off the dock.  We woke up this morning to a pretty awesome sunrise.

Ian was up early, partly because his tent-mate got up to go fishing at 6:30 am.  Ian was lucky enough that his tent-mate's father brought some extra fishing gear, and let Ian do some fishing.

Ian caught two sunfish, both of which were kind of small, but Ian was rightly proud of his catch (and release)!

Later, we went for a 5-mile hike and then Ian finished up some requirements for his First-Class Scout rank.  Here he is jumping in to "save" a swimmer, he has a rope tied around him, then swam around the swimmer, pulled her up from behind while the Scoutmaster (on the dock) reeled them both in to safety.

All in all, we both had a great time.  Hope everyone has a great day.  Cheers!


Monday, September 7, 2015

Trip to the National Mall

Well, we finally made it into the city to see some of the monuments and memorials on the National Mall.  Catherine and the kids humored me by waking up pretty early, but that meant the place was not packed, and parking was close.  We started out at the Lincoln Memorial.  I did a bunch of work in Perfect Photo to get rid of the people in this photo, which was probably unnecessary, since there really weren't that many people standing and sitting around.

No post-processing was necessary to get rid of people from this (and the next) shot.  That is a benefit of arriving early, you don't have to share time with Mr. Lincoln.

We spent a good bit of time at the Lincoln Memorial, which was the primary purpose of this trip.

We arrived about five minutes before sunrise, which was pretty.

The low angle of the sun made for some very warm light.  Even though the sun was low, it was still bright when standing in the full sun, so we had to get into the shade.

This one Leah took with my old camera.

Once we were done we decided to take a walk around the reflecting pool.  We started out towards the Korean War Veterans Memorial, which I had never seen before.

Then we headed to the World War II Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Tidal Pool with a view of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, back through Constitution Garden, and past the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  All this by 9:30 am!

After our trip we headed back home, where we are enjoying a lazy Labor Day.  I hope everyone is enjoying their Labor Day.  Cheers,


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Stony Man Mountain

Like I wrote about in the previous post, we waited about 30 minutes from the last thunder to head up to Stony Man.  The sun broke out while we were there, which was quite nice.  A couple was there and they offered to get our photo:

And this is the view north, with bits of Skyline Drive visible.

I think we may head into DC tomorrow, here's hoping the weather tomorrow is as nice as we had today (lucky dogs in Shenandoah...)



Saturday, September 5, 2015

Shenandoah National Park

We made a quick dash to Shenandoah National Park this weekend to have a getaway for Labor Day.  It was very last minute, which meant we only had two nights due to all campsites getting booked well before we booked ours.  We had a bit of a late start, since I worked a full day Thursday, and then got caught in traffic.  By the time we made it to our campsite, it was fully dark.  Thankfully this wasn't my first time putting up this tent.

We got the tent put up before the rain came.  We were surrounded by lightning and thunder for a good bit of the night, but thankfully no heavy rain.  I woke up early the next morning to photograph sunrise, but that fizzled.

So I went back to the campsite, where Catherine and the kids were already awake.  We made breakfast and then went to the Visitor's Center to pick up Junior Ranger booklets for the kids.  Wouldn't you know it, they changed the booklets the day after we picked up ours, and changed the requirements from 12 to 5.  Needless to say, the kids were busy.  Ian put up a bit of a fuss, but was all smiles when he got his badge.

During the morning ranger walk (above), it started to rain on us, and really came down pretty hard.  It rained off and on for the rest of the day.  We couldn't stray too far from the car (though we did manage to climb the second highest mountain in the park) since every time we did, we got hit with lightning, thunder, and/or rain.  Prior to climbing Stony Man mountain, while the kids and Catherine were still in the car, I was off checking out the sign about the trail.  There was lighting and thunder in the area, but a little distance away.  Until I was reading the sign, that is.  Simultaneous flash and boom led to a quick dash to the car!  We waited until well after that storm moved away, but even then, our time at the top of Stony Man was short since I didn't want to be up when another storm rolled in.

After that, things settled down for a bit.  We did a nice hike up Bearfence trail, but the viewpoint wasn't that great.  That, and another series of storms started to move in, so down we hiked.  We drove the mile or so north to my chosen sunset location and cooked dinner at the overlook.  We had to eat inside the car since another storm was moving to the west of us, with lightning and thunder.  That eventually passed (do you detect a pattern?) and we walked down to our sunset location, where sunset fizzled.

It was nice to hang out with the kids, and they had a great time playing (until they got bored at the end) and taking their own photos.  We made it back to our campsite, which had been dumped on by the rain, with a little bit of sunlight left, just enough to change and crawl into bed.  That is when the rain started, in earnest.  It rained on and off the whole night and into the morning.  We stayed dry - but are definitely glad to be home for tonight with our gear drying outside.

Have a great Labor Day Weekend everybody!