Sleeping in Shenandoah: Community Housing and Forest Friends

Though I’ve lived in community housing before, it’s always a bit nerve-wracking walking into a new home and greeting people you haven’t met but will be living with for the whole summer. I was placed in a section of park housing less than a mile from the Visitor Center. According to the rest of the staff, I got the “best” house, a wooden two story with plenty of windows and beautiful views of our forested backyard. I share a room with another intern, who is a college senior form Virginia. She has been a great help in getting oriented to the park, and since we have the same days off every week, we often go hiking together. I also have two other housemates who both work for the trail and maintenance crews. We are all getting along great, and since there is no cell or wifi service we have been playing lots of board games.

Our house has a small front and backyard, but the rest of the area around it is wooded. The Appalachian Trail is less than a mile away, and sometimes we can even hear talkative hikers walking through. Because the campground is so near, we have a ton of bear activity, and normally I see a bear every other day. Unlike grizzlies, our black bears are smaller, easily scared by noise, and are rarely aggressive. I love seeing the females with their cubs make their way through the forest. Many other forest animals like deer and turkeys also travel through and forage in our backyard.

So far I’ve enjoyed living here far away from any towns and without cell/wifi service. It makes me much more motivated to go on hikes and be outside in these beautiful mountains!



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