15 September 2009 Bearfence Mountain and Pocosin Mission
We started the day by climbing Bearfence Mountain. The climb isn't very long and the elevation change is reasonable, but the path is mostly rocks past the first half of the trail. It's also a trail where losing your footing will not be a good thing. Bearfence is only one of two accessible peaks in Shenandoah that offers a 360 degree view.
Ali says Hi
Ali grabbed the camera
It's a long way down if you lose your footing on the trail
The trail down
After we returned from Bearfence, we walked the trail to Pocosin Mission. It's been twenty years since we walked back to the former mission site that became a small village while the parkland was still home to people. A lot has changed in the twenty years. The last portion of the church wall that was standing has now fallen. It is also harder to find the remnants of a few of the homes. It was weird to realize that people have actually removed some of the home items that used to be here. On our last visit there was still a rusted bed frame and spring and some everyday household items. I have no idea why someone would think taking them was proper.
Many of the unmarked grave stones for people that lived in Pocosin are still visible in the small cemetery across the road from the church.
Ali playing with a puffball mushroom.
We saw a handful of different butterflies, but mostly we saw monarchs. On some of the thistle plants there were six to eight monarchs gathered.
In the background of enjoying Shenandoah is the reality that so many people were turned from their homes to make this a National Park. This is what remains of the Taylor Cemetery. It is a place where people left the graves of their children when the government told them to leave. In the case of the Taylor Family it is a place where they returned to finally come home when their lives ended years after the park began.
The view from Loft Mountain
When we realized we couldn't be back at Miller's Head for sunset, we decided to stop at The Point. Most visitors to The Point pull in at the overlook and drive on. They never seem to notice the trail that leads a couple hundred feet to a rock formation. It is a perfect place to watch sunset. While we were relaxing and watching, we were joined by two deer were browsing in the area. The clouds blocked a bit of the view, but we enjoyed.