Ventured out to Shenandoah National Park yesterday, and I was happy to find that the trails are in excellent condition. The sky was a perfect shade of blue and the air was crisp. Below is a picture of me at Hawksbill Summit, the highest summit in the park. I'm getting photo bombed by Old Rag Mountain :-)
Took a picture here (below) of Stony Man Mountain through my binoculars. The old man is looking forward to a lush green Shenandoah Valley, soon to be here!
The sweet, tangy smell of mulch laid outside our home is the sure sign that the outdoor season has arrived. Okay, so it's suppose to snow tomorrow. Whatever, Spring is here! I saw it in the faces of the student groups I trekked through the Washington D.C. streets this past week. I look at my calendar and anticipate the memories to be made as I venture folks along the sprouting trials of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I'm ready. Are you? April is afoot, the Cherry Blossom are soon to bloom, and the vistas of Shenandoah that are now barren and grey, will soon turn to rolling peaks and lush greenery of awesome! I am happy. This is what the season brings. Promises of connection and exposure , to what we all are born to appreciate... The great mother of nature.
Let's get outdoors.
Get out there and bask in the glory of what it means to be alive!
The season is about to start...
The chill of winter has begun to subside...
The dark hours of daylight savings time have past...
and, The White Crow is stretching out the wings,
unfurling the feathers,
and getting ready to soar.
It's been an exciting season so far, and as expected, much has changed since I first conjured up the idea to start my own tour company. I have settled on three different tours for the remainder of my season: a Hiking Tour, a History Tour, and a Luray Caverns Tour. Tours still leave from the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro Station, but now only on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
The folks who have venture out with the White Crow this summer have all been wonderful people. I don't know if it's the name, the destinations, or perhaps my smiling face, but I seem to get the best people on my tours. Everyone has been open to adventure, and willing to embrace the small group concept. Even in the smallest of groups, two to three people, memories have been created and friendships have been forged.
I love taking pictures each time I'm out with a group, no matter how often I've been to the destination that we find ourselves at. I always consider that I might capture a more perfect image of why I love these places, and why I love guiding people to them. In reality, there is always a new picture to take of the same place, because each visit is new experience.
If you have any questions, comments or whatever, I'd love to hear from you. Emails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Owner & Operator
White Crow Adventure Tours, LLC
I just came in from outside where I was sitting underneath the awning listening to the rain, watching the clouds roll in, and keeping an eye out for streaks of lightning and an ear tuned to the clap of thunder. It all amazes me. Nature. Weather. Sky. God, bowling a strike; The Duke of Thunder.
I remember one trip to Great Smokey Mountain National Park. The weather did not cooperate. A fog laid heavy on each summit we reached. As a tour leader, you need to make the best of things when Mother Nature doesn't open herself up. I guided my group along the trails, embraced the hidden landscape before us, and kept the group together in a tight formation as if they were a precious cloud making it's way through the haze and obscurity. I bellowed playful howls from my belly, and made the group chuckle at my attempts to summon the spirit of the forest. Spirit of the forest? Yes, because one must conjure up whatever might work to keep the group from sulking with the weather.
When we finally arrived back at our campground for the night, Mother of Rain decided to slap us in the face. We had all been good little minions in her army of outdoor enthusiasts, never grumbling as we hiked along damp trails and took pictures of foggy mountaintops. No, we keep a optimistic groove in our step and waited for the weather to turn in our favor. No chance. Down came the rain. Pouring. Dumping. Water falling into every bowl and around every bend before us. Not the best weather for camping. No fires would be burned and no marshmallows roasted. The group sulked. They grimaced. They were on the verge of mutiny.
I looked behind my drivers seat of the Ford Econoline, scanned the eyes of each member of the group, and decided what had to be done. I turned back around, opened my door, and stepped out of the van one foot after the other into the pouring rain. I went to the back of the van, climbed the ladder in my soaking flip-flops and got up onto the roof.
Then I danced.
I rain danced.
It was raining and I danced.
I slipped once in my flip-flops, but then went barefoot, and kept on dancing.
I danced until everyone came out of the van.
They thought I was crazy as they laughed at my dancing,
but they were out of the van, and they were laughing...
It was a good night...
I remember one night while camping in the Colorado mountains. It was a calm starry night, with a cool mountain air settling all around. I did not want to sleep in a tent that night. I had conjured up images of cowboys gathered around a prairie campfire, settling down after a long day on a dusty trail, rucksacks tugged underneath their heads, and sleeping under the stars. I wanted to sleep under the stars. I wanted to commune with the great outdoors' night, and all that it promised in my boyish imagination.
I grabbed my sleeping bag from the tent, and found myself a spot of smooth earth next to the campfire. I laid out my bed for the night, snuggled into its warmth and comfort, and gazed in wonder at the spectacular stars that filled the night sky. Darkness settled in ever so subtle, and camp noise and chatter fell by the wayside. My senses tuned into every crackle of the fire, each shuffling of the leaves, the twinkle of all the stars, and the smell of pine trees standing bold and true. My eyes adapted to the night, but just as they did, my eyelids slowly closed with a hush, and I fell into a deep sleep...
How much time had passed? Had I been asleep for a minute, an hour, several hours? My eyelids slowly raised. I was awake. Everything had changed, but somehow it felt like home. I didn't know what time it was. I could only assume that I was the only one around not sleeping. I sensed that I had drifted into a sacred place that was always in existence, but just beneath my awareness. I felt perfect.
I gazed back up towards the night sky, and I was enchanted by a barrage of falling stars. It was amazing. It was awesome. I was in love...
The White Crow Blog