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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

There is a purity of light in the mountains following a heavy storm, especially one that has produced such snow.   The lure is...

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.

The morning sun greets the snow-covered trees alongside Skyline Drive this Friday dawn after Thanksgiving.  It is a powerful...

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.

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

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

The snow has stopped flying and behind us a new dawn has broken.  But up ahead, the storm lingers over a mountain ridge, creating...

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.

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...

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.

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

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

Stony Man Mountain rises in the distance following a day of heavy snow.  The vista is reminiscent of images captured more than...

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Solitude is not common on Skyline Drive except in winter when the only sounds are an occasional bird's call and the sound of...

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.

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

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

The woodland forest stands buried in heavy snow.

The woodland forest stands buried in heavy snow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Thanksgiving brings a surprise snow to the high mountains of Shenandoah National Park.  But Friday brings a new day and a rising...

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.