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A Snowy Hike For A Birthday Gal

(Photo by Jason Levesque)
So what do you discover when you cram four people into a car for a road trip for a birthday hike? You discover all sorts of things:
"I went to Harvard summer school with Mark Zuckerberg.
He was my suitemate; we're still friends; but... we don't Facebook."
"I have a friend that spent a year in the BioDome. He said the hookup scene was GREAT!"
"You *have* to go to Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble. Put it on your bucket list."
"Remember when we camped in the monsoon and my brother would pass gas in the tent and we couldn't escape because to go outside was certain death?"

Three of the four in the car owned ukuleles.

And that we could loudly sing Journey songs for an entire car ride to the mountains... And back.

 ...Happy birthday, Catherine,  Miz "It's MY BIRTHDAY" Brooks!!!!! : )

White Oak Cedar Run in Shenandoah National Park

The drive was *gorgeous* - an easy, winding drive by beautiful farms, historic towns, oh, all the things you know by now I moon over. Don't believe me? Take a peek:


(Photo by Jason Levesque)
In the snow, we hiked Shenandoah National Park's White Oak Cedar Run - didn't do the entire loop, but climbed the falls and back just as dusk descended, then gathered around Catherine to sing and share birthday cake!!!!

On the drive back we pulled over next to a field in the dark and watched the stars. We could see the milky way. Shooting stars everywhere! In the crystalline air, we shouted and clapped at the sky!

Even better: I am taking a day to meander this again in the spring, and I AM GOING TO GRAVES MOUNTAIN LODGE for the Bluegrass Festival this year. Santa brought us a tent, we're fixing up the 1960s Scotty camper, and this would be the perfect easy drive and festival to enjoy it with the children.

Here's some more photos from Jason:

By the way: My friend Catherine aka THE BIRTHDAY GIRL is an *amazing* artist who has been featured in galleries in New York, L.A., and London.  Often she works with found objects and reuses them into gorgeous three dimensional art. I thought you might like to learn about her / see some of her work:
If you enjoyed the photos by her friend and fellow Virginia artist Jason Levesque, check out his artwork, here.

And P.S. Modern house kit update:
TOMORROW WE FLIP THE SWITCH ON ELECTRIC in the zero energy off grid prefab house!!!!

*Kathy's Scenic Directions from Richmond:
"64 West to the Zion Crossroads Exit, turn to the right at the exit light and head to Gordonsville. When you get to the Gordonsville traffic round about. Go straight and then left. Drive for about a block and take a right onto the Blue Ridge Trail/Highway. (Route 231) Stay on 231 until you get to the stop sign at Old Pratts. At that stop sign, take a left, drive about a mile until it ends at Rt. 29. Take a right on 29, drive a couple of miles and turn left to go into Madison Courthouse. Go through the Courthouse and veer to the left to head towards Banco/Graves Mountain Lodge/White Oak Canyon. After you have crossed the Robinson River take a left at "Banco" (where that abandoned stone store is that I admire) towards Graves, go through Criglersville. When you get to the Graves packing house on the left and the general store on the right, take a right. Drive on that road, winding around, until you get to the White Oak Canyon Parking, Shenandoah National park, on your left. It's about 2 hours from your house. Remember to stop for potty at the Tastee Freez in Gordonsville and also wonderful chocolate dipped cone."

Copeland's note: Eat at Pig N Steak in Madison, VA if you like BBQ and beer. Deelish, they also have hush puppies and sweet potato fries.




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