Feet on the ground, reaching for the sky: Skyline Drive, a photo essay

A butterfly flits above thistle at an overlook on the Skyline Drive, which runs above the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.

A butterfly flits above thistle at an overlook on the Skyline Drive, which runs above the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.

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Our ending point on the Skyline Drive.

With a long road trip ahead of us — one interstate right after another — we decided to start in the most civilized manner we could think of. The Skyline Drive. 35 mph. Priceless scenery all around. A route to get us in touch with the country.

With a blazing blue sky above us and summer’s brightest greens all around, the path took us to the heights above the Shenandoah Valley, where ridges of blue mountains loomed over farms and small towns, shining rivers and the occasional bristle of cell towers. We stopped at nearly every overlook; how could we not? Birds and butterflies flew around us. We looked down in wonder as a buzzard rode the wind high above the earth. Patches of flowers, pink, gold and purple, bloomed in the sunlight. We stayed only an hour — we had 500 more to go that day — but the drive started our trip with beauty and joy.

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