Week Ending April 26, 2015

This week was a tough week for me to spend time in the outdoors unfortunately. With plans to go up to Richmond on Wednesday evening after work, and the next two days off, I had to stay a bit later than normal on Monday and Tuesday so was unable to get out. This 4 day weekend was for my bachelor party, and my groomsmen for my upcoming wedding all flew into Richmond to visit. On Thursday morning we left at 7 AM from Richmond, and drove up to the Blue Ridge Parkway for a morning of hiking in the mountains. I wanted to take everyone on a hike up Spy Rock near Montebello, Virginia because this is where I proposed to Ruth back in October, and wanted them all to see it. The hike itself begins at the country store in ‘town’, and is about 5 miles round trip, with an elevation gain of a little over 1300 vertical feet. With 6 of us on the hike, wildlife was tough to spot given that we weren’t all that quiet along the way. I did spot a Louisiana Waterthrush along the creek coming down through the state trout hatchery, and got a group of three Blue-headed Vireos while on the way back down the mountain. But, none of my photographs turned out very good, and it proved to be just too early in the season for most other species at the higher elevations, which hadn’t even begin to leaf out quite yet. The hike though was a fun with, with four of my friends missing the trail from the fire road to Spy Rock, and walking an additional mile or so before they realized their error. Given that myself and one friend were in the back, it was quite a surprise when we reached the top to find no one else up there. Fortunately, everyone did make it, but the winds buffeting the mountain top made it difficult to stay too long. I shot some photographs from the top and then we started heading back down. Once back to the vehicles, and after checking out the fish hatchery for a little while, we headed out of the mountains to lunch and then back to Richmond, with everyone pretty exhausted. On Friday, we stayed in downtown Richmond, grabbing food at a couple of Ruth & I’s favorite spots, but didn’t do any hiking. Saturday, the weather took a turn for the dreary and rainy, and then Sunday we all parted ways I headed back to Virginia Beach. This coming week should be a switch though, as migrants really start to pour into the region, with mid-to-late April really being my favorite weeks of the year. So hopefully I can get more shots this week, but at least all my friends enjoyed themselves, and it was great to see everyone. 

The view to the southeast from Spy Rock in Nelson County, VA on Thursday morning!