The Alexander Home Page presents
Alexander in Natural Bridge, Virginia

Natural Bridge, off Interstate 81 in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, claims to be one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Actually, it is one of at least nineteen different sites to have claimed a place on this not-so-exclusive list. (A list of the Nineteen Natural Wonders of the World can be found at the bottom of this page.)

Compelled by a desire to see this wonder of nature, Alexander visited the Shenandoah Valley during the first week of October in 1997. It was his second trip to Virginia. (Earlier in the year, he visited Virginia Beach.) As before, he and his parents met up with his young cousin Joseph, now a robust 8˝ months old, and Joseph's parents, who are somewhat older.

The Natural Bridge

Alexander and Mommy at Natural Bridge Alexander and Joey at Natural Bridge Alexander and Daddy at Natural Bridge

Alex and his family hiked the Cedar Creek Trail, which passes beneath the mighty bridge. Above, Alexander poses in front of the Natural Bridge with, from left to right: his mother; his cousin Joey; and his father.

According to legend, the bridge was discovered by the Monacan Indians in the 16th Century. While fleeing the Shawnees and the Powhatans, the Monocans came to the edge of a deep abyss. They were doomed! Suddenly they noticed a majestic natural bridge spanning the 200-foot gorge. In gratitude for this gift from above, they dropped to their knees and prayed.

A sign posted along the Cedar Creek Trail adds that the Monocans sent their women and children across the bridge first, in order to test its strength. The bridge, obviously, did not crumble. Once the women and children proved that it was safe to proceed, the brave male warriors followed. The sign does not indicate why the Shawnees and Powhatans did not continue their pursuit by simply crossing the bridge themselves. Perhaps they did not have any women and children with them.

The Natural Bench

Natural Bench At left, Alexander and his parents stopped to visit the other wonder of the Cedar Creek Trail, the famed Natural Bench. According to legend, the Monacan Indians, weary after fleeing from a herd of vicious squirrels, dropped to their knees in awe upon discovering a tree stump shaped like a large chair! The exhausted warriors resisted the urge to immediately collapse upon this miraculous throne. They prudently had the women and children check the bench for splinters and icky bugs.

Back at the hotel

Alexander and Joey in Raphine, Virginia Of course, the trip to Natural Bridge was more than just natural wonders, hiking trails, and Indian folklore. There was also plenty of time to crawl around on the floor and examine brightly-colored plastic objects. Here we see Alex and Joey playing on the floor of Joey's hotel room, in the Days Inn in Raphine, Virginia. The two cousins got along well, although, if they both grabbed the same toy at the same time, they would tend to snarl at each other. The hotel had comfortable, spacious rooms. Outdoor balconies provided a lovely view of the mountains and the Interstate. The low point of the stay, however, was when Joey's mother discovered a pile of dog poop in the hallway. (The front desk swiftly had the offending pile removed.)

Finally, the time came to bid farewell to the Shenandoah Valley. Everybody headed for home a little bit wiser, and filled with fond memories that would last a lifetime.

The Alexander Home Page, in an exhaustive search, has uncovered nineteen places that claim to be one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

According to the National Geographic Society, the Seven Natural Wonders of the World are: The Grand Canyon; Mount Everest; the harbor of Rio de Janeiro; Iguazú Falls in Argentina; Yosemite Valley’s giant sequoias; The Nile River; and the Aurora Borealis (the northern lights).

The Reader's Digest agrees with the first three choices above. To round out the list, they would add Zimbabwe's Victoria Falls, The Great Barrier Reef, caves of France and Spain, and Paricutin, a Mexican volcano.

Other claimants include: The Blue Grotto in Italy; Yosemite National Park; Land of Ten Thousand Smokes, in Alaska; Rainbow Bridge National Monument in Arizona; Red Rocks National Amphitheatre in Colorado; Niagara Falls; the Petrified Forest in Arizona; and, of course, Natural Bridge in Virginia.

It should be noted that, as yet, Alexander has only visited one of the sites listed above. If Alexander should ever visit any of the remaining eighteen wonders, rest assured, dear reader, that The Alexander Home Page will be on the scene.

Also, for those who are interested, the Seven Deadly Sins are: pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth.

The Seven Dwarfs are: Happy, Sneezy, Sleepy, Dopey, Bashful, Grumpy, and Steve. (Doc is on a leave of absence from the group. He is currently resident at the Betty Ford Clinic, due to an addiction to painkillers.)