Friday, June 13, 2008

Eagles, Falcons, and Mrs. Rowe's

This was another wonderful day spent with friends. Our friends are bird watching enthusiasts so I thought it would be fun to do a short hike to an area where we might be lucky enough to see some peregrine falcons. For several years biologists have been releasing peregrines from the high cliffs of Shenandoah National Park. Hawksbill is a good place to get a glimpse of these birds.

Our hike to the summit started at Hawksbill Gap and climbed gently but steadily to the highest point (4,051 ft) in Shenandoah National Park. This park is full of wildlife and one of the most common seen is the white tail deer. We had hardly gotten warmed up on our hike before we saw a handsome young buck. He moseyed across the trail between us women and our guys. Near the summit we came to a rock outcropping we couldn’t pass up without a quick look. The view was fantastic so we sat down for a little rest. An Appalachian Trail thru-hiker came by and while we were talking with him, Charlie heard a bird that seemed to be pretty agitated. Searching with his binoculars, he finally spotted the source of the noise—a golden eagle perched in the top of a dead tree about 50 yards away. As we continued on toward the summit of Hawksbill, we found a college intern sitting on a rock with a scope watching a falcon. Unfortunately, it flew before we were high enough on the rock to see. Still, we were thrilled at having seen the eagle.

This evening we met again in Staunton for dinner. This time we selected Mrs. Rowe’s Family Restaurant. They specialize in home cooking at a very reasonable price. We knew we were in for some good eating when we drove up. This was an ordinary Thursday evening and the parking lot was full. We were not disappointed. If you are ever in the neighborhood, I recommend it. Mrs. Rowe’s is located just off I-81 and US 250. There is lots of parking, but it is not arranged well for an RV, however.

We had to say good-bye to our friends after dinner. But it has been a special two days that we will treasure for a very long time.

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