Lots of us grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons. But not so many get to really hug Yogi Bear. A series of cimcumstances brought us to Jellystone Park near Natural Bridge, Virginia. We feared the place would be filled with noisy campers, but instead, we arrived early in the season and had the place to ourselves.
Camping alongside the James River near Natural Bridge State Park was a treat. Walking alongside the river in the morning was beautiful.
Fog settled on the nearby mountain tops, offering an extra feeling of solitude in a most unlikely place.
I feel sure Jellystone Park campgrounds are now filled with fun-seeking families, (and no, I get no recompense for mentioning this business) which is what these campgrounds were created to cater to. Lucky for us, there are off seasons that give a hint (and no more) of the riotous fun others enjoy. We are grateful to avoid these crowds and the noise that are a natural consequence of all that fun.
On this trip we saw several real black bears, and one very friendly bear that brought me back to my childhood. What a mix of silly and sublime. We never know what we will find on our travels.
The Natural Bridge State Park was on our way out of the area. After a very short Easy Walk, we headed for home. Happy trails!
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks, Finding the Sacred in Everyday (and some very strange) Places.
She has written for numerous local, regional, and national publications over the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress.