Hike Massanutten: Pine, Stone, Fog, and Death
An hour west of Washington DC, the northern prow of Massanutten Mountain rises up like a fifty mile long ship plying the Shenandoah River. This northern prow end is called Signal Knob. It rises above the Shenandoah Valley and the little town of Strasburg which has the worst Mexican food in the most beguiling restaurant on the planet with mounds of lush palms and Latin American-y coleuses whizzing and banging and fiesta-ing all over like sirens luring you onto the rocks and a horrid and pointless death by insipid salsa. Luckily, it is frequently closed, or at least is on Mondays as are all the restaurants in Strasburg even the one that said, "We treat you like family", but when we pressed our noses to the chicken wire embedded glass in the bolted door there was a sign in the vestibule above a basket of improbably red geraniums that said, "Premises under video surveillance for your protection."
Monday must be the day before the supply ship comes, and Strasburg was down to seige rations and every single one of the restaurants were battened down shut and the only one that wasn't should have been. Sitting down, I leaned my elbow in a puddle of Pepsi and a girl with yellow rubber bands on her braces (I hope) handed us a menu and said, "There's really no sense in looking in there, ma'am. We only have the Country Baked Beans and the Tuna Melt? Do you want that?" and a little girl from the next table with a lazy eye came over to our table and wanted to eat our pickles.
I too love Fort Valley/Elizabeth Furnace. We bike there and I have a really spectacular scar from a cataclysmic crash from bombing down a fire road near Elizabeth Furnace on a lovely summer day.
Once, we were chased by grouse.
This Black bear may have fallen from a tree, which does happen, but was probably killed by poachers for its gall-bladder. Those jerks.