August 5, 2016

Friday Five from Skyline Drive

Willy Nilly Friday: Update from Dickey Ridge

1. You'll find many pictures of Dickey Ridge on this blog. It's the first visitor center that we come to when we enter Shenandoah National Park at the Front Royal entrance, so it's less than a half hour from home. I've stopped there many times and have gone hiking there more than once.

So imagine my shock to read of a bear killing a hiker's dog there! This happened on Wednesday. The hiker and another dog escaped.

2. The incident happened on the Snead Farm Fire Road, which is closed to traffic but is popular as a walking trail. It's a short hike and fairly easy.  This picture of me on the trail is from a year or two ago. Note the hiking stick; it's a good idea to carry one. Not long ago another hiker fended off a bear with a hiking stick! But don't panic; black bears rarely attack humans. Dogs, however, will attack bears, so rangers advise keeping your dog on a short leash if you walk with him in bear country.

3.  Usually I see deer at Dickey Ridge, like this one that we saw from the Snead Farm Trail. She is wearing a radio collar because researchers are tracking the habits of deer in hopes of avoiding an epidemic when chronic wasting disease reaches Virginia.

3. I've visited Dickey Ridge all my life, and felt like it was a very safe place to walk because of the proximity to the visitor center, which has a nature exhibit and book store.
This boy has a bright orange shirt.
5. I've even walked Flash at Dickey Ridge but now I'm rethinking that idea. Often I carry an air horn to scare away bears, but most black bear attacks involve dogs. Our eastern bears are generally shy of people, although lately they have been wandering into towns in search of food. I saw a small bear in our neighborhood the other day in the middle of the afternoon!


  1. My daughter lives in Chatham, NJ, a small suburban town. Even there, she recently saw a young black bear in her neighborhood. Scary!

  2. The bears have been a bit troublesome this year! We've had a couple running around our road this summer and they have been eating my neighbors ducks.

  3. The bears were around first!

  4. Beautiful hiking area. In Alaska, the rangers suggest you carry bells. They are supposed to scare bears away. I had some but never used them which I was happy about.

  5. Sometimes we forget about safety when having fun.

  6. My experience is that bears will scatter when they're aware of you. Dogs on a leash will be better for the dogs, absolutely.

    And we should leave wild berries alone- that's often the bear's primary food source in late summer to get them ready for winter.

  7. Oh my! I would much rather see deer than bear when out taking a walk!

  8. Hiking poles are good for many things, including fending off bear!

  9. How scary about the bear! An airhorn sounds like a great idea. Those black bears get so unpredictable when they have cubs. I would get some bear spray also. I know its rare, but it just takes the once! Have a great week!

  10. I saw a bear on our last trip on the way down from Big Meadows last week. Looked about a couple of years old, on the edge of the road as we passed by in the car. He ambled across once we had gone by. Was sorry when I heard this, know Dickey Ridge well. I learned a few things while reading this post, following the link and reading some comments. Thanks Linda.


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