Trips: A Thanksgiving Snow To Remember, Shenandoah 2014

On Thanksgiving Day, a deep snow fell across Shenandoah National Park. That evening my daughter said she wanted to see sunrise in the snow. So we headed out at 430 and arrived for a sunrise to remember and found, surprisingly, Skyline Drive was open to allow patrons to reach Skyland Resort. It was the most magical and beautiful I have seen in Shenandoah in 30 years. Here are a few photos from that trip.s

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Old Rag Mountain beckons in the quiet of dawn after a day of heavy snow. The storm is clearing and the mountains rise below purple majesty.

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Framed by snow covered branches, Old Rag mountain and Shenandoah's ridges recede in the distance of a new dawn.

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Just before the final approach to Stony Man Mountain, a lone pine rises in the light of a new dawn, draped in heavy snow.

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Mountain ridge after mountain ridge rises to the east of Buck Hollow Overlook, which offers one of the best overlooks to witness a snow winter sunrise.

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The sun's first rays light the slopes below Skyline Drive while painting the hillsides above in a pink glow.

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There is a purity of light in the mountains following a heavy storm, especially one that has produced such snow. The lure is irresistible. The desire to freeze the moment. The need to hold your hand.

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The morning sun greets the snow-covered trees alongside Skyline Drive this Friday dawn after Thanksgiving. It is a powerful reminder of just how much there is to be thankful for.

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A grove of oaks and maples stand under heavy snow along a roadside ridge above Skyline Drive.

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The snow has stopped flying and behind us a new dawn has broken. But up ahead, the storm lingers over a mountain ridge, creating a stark contrast between the snow laced trees and the dark clouds of a fleeing winter storm.

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The entrance to Skyland Resort from Skyline Drive is buried in a deep snow, even as the final patrons of the year will be looking for a way out.

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Skyline Drive is an artistic creation as it wends its way across and around the ridges and mountain peaks of Shenandoah National Park.

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Stony Man Mountain rises in the distance following a day of heavy snow. The vista is reminiscent of images captured more than a half century ago, in black and white, of deep snows, taken at a time when Skyline Drive was more frequently open in winter.

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Skyline Drive is always a stunning 100 mile drive but on this winter morning, the Drive is open only to those willing to hike its course.

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Decorated in a heavy wet snow, Skyline Drive is stunning and peaceful. There are no cars, no sounds. It is a time for quiet awe.

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Pinacles Picnic Grounds is a bustling center of play and food in summer, but today it is buried below deep snow and is quiet.

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Cloaked in winter snow, a collection of oaks, maples and pine stretch to the heavens as if, too, to give thanks.

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You know a scene is magical when your teenage daughter is speechless.

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As my daughter said this Friday morning after Thanksgiving, there is "no better place."

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Stony Man Mountain and Skyline Drive can be seen across the snowy valley.

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Solitude is not common on Skyline Drive except in winter when the only sounds are an occasional bird's call and the sound of a light wind passing across these mountain ridges.

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A pine and oak seem dependent on one another for support and shelter, and maybe some encouragement.

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The woodland forest stands buried in heavy snow.

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Just before sunrise, the wintry peaks of Little Stony Man Mountain reach to the purple pastels of a breaking dawn.

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With the warm glow of the rising sun, the fading colors of dawn and deep snow, Little Stony Man Mountain is a moving spectacle.

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The pink glow of early morning warms as every branch bows along Skyline Drive under the heavy wet snow that has fallen overnight.

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Skyline Drive, still covered in snow and ice, stretches into the unknown below the snow covered cathedral of trees that in summer shades this beautiful stretch of the Drive.

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Thanksgiving brings a surprise snow to the high mountains of Shenandoah National Park. But Friday brings a new day and a rising sun paints Stony Many Mountain in pinks and golds as every tree along Skyline Drive is cloaked in fresh snow.