By Lynn R. Mitchell
The mountains called. Skyland Resort is open for the season and it was hopping on Easter Monday as my Richmond sister Lori and I popped in to the dining room with dozens of other visitors for lunch and to enjoy the views out the huge windows overlooking the Page Valley.
It was 63 degrees in the mountains so perfect for a walk in the spring woods that still look like winter woods. In the afternoon, it was quiet along the Limberlost Trail and we saw only a handful of other people on the trail. Though this area is rich in wildlife, all we saw today were two squirrels, one chipmunk, and we heard a crow in the distance. Others have seen black bears, deer, and rabbits.
Limberlost used to be filled with a hundred 300-year-old hemlock trees that had been purchased by Addie Pollack in 1920 for $1000 to help preserve the trees from logging. Her husband George Pollack, founder of Skyland Resort, named it the Limberlost Forest after the novel, A Girl of the Limberlost. The large hemlock trees are sadly now gone after infection by the non-native hemlock wooly adelgid, an aphidlike insect from Asia that was first spotted in 1951 near Richmond and started attacking the Shenandoah hemlocks in 1988, killed all the giants. There are remnants along the trail, reminders of the days not long ago when the majestic trees still populated this particular area of the park.
Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
Shenandoah National Park
April 6, 2015