Having pulled over at a viewpoint along Skyline Drive to enjoy a beautiful sunset we discovered this beautiful praying mantis bathing in the warm light on the wall along the parking area. It posed for a bit and then slowly walked off behind the barrier.
Praying Mantis is a large insect that lifts its front legs as if in prayer. It is the only insect able to swivel its head from side to side. It seems slow and deliberate but can strike suddenly when another insect approaches to become a meal.
Shenandoah National Park was established in December 1935. It's main and unique feature is a 105-miles long Skyline Drive along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia offering views of the Shenandoah Valley to the west and Piedmont Plain to the east. Along the drive, one can enjoy approximately 500 miles of hiking trails. The park also offers many picturesque waterfalls made even more beautiful by heaving to hike to them, many requiring a descend of several hundred feet to see them, followed by the same ascend back to the trail head. Many of these hikes take you along creeks where many small cascades offer great views as a prelude to the grand finale at the trails' end. References
: Praying Mantis - Mantis religiosa