Sunday, April 5, 2009

Saturday, April 4, 2009 High Streams Friendly Fire

Saturday April 4, 2009 dusk looking east from false summit just above rock scramble crux. (double click for higher resolution)
Saturday April 4, 2009 a typical part of the rock scramble.

Saturday April 4, 2009 Bloodroot on lower Ridge Trail.

Saturday April 4, 2009 looking back at first false summit from rock scramble.

Arrived at the fee station just in time to talk briefly to the Rangers and pick up my patrol radio. Went up to the upper lot and spent about an hour treating some of my cloths with premethrin to help repel ticks before starting up the trail. We have not hit the time of year when there is the greatest chance of catching a tick-borne disease but it is a good time to start taking precautions. If you have not gotten up to speed on ticks you should, there is lots of good information online including this site; .
While I was getting ready in the upper lot Chad, one of the Shenandoah Mountain Guides who trains the ORMS volunteers arrived in the upper lot in order to get in a quick hour of bouldering practice. We spoke about how high all the streams were running from the rain earlier in the week. Because of the high water Chad was excited about going kayaking the next day. As I hiked the mountain during the day, gullies that are normally dry had water flowing in them. The stream bed that runs past the switch backs had a cascading bubbling brook in it when normally its flow is so low that the water is hidden from sight under the stream bed's boulders.
Low on the Ridge trail I passed a hiker coming down who said he was going to be doing two circuits in order to practice for a race. I saw him again on his second circuit near the summit.
I arrived at Byrds Nest Shelter to a very welcoming fire and two very friendly visitors named Chip and Rich. They were enjoying an evening fire before retiring to their tents just out of sight of the shelter. They told me that the Friday night winds had been so strong that it was hard to stand up against them. The temperatures had really dropped during the evening so the early morning day hikers who had dressed for a warm spring day were all glad to warm up at Chip and Rich's morning fire. As the day progressed the winds subsided and the temps climbed but before that happened at least 40 different hikers had visited the shelter to warm up by the fire. One group included three generations of a family engaging in a long standing tradition of celebrating birthdays up on the mountain. I quipped that Chip and Rich did not know that they were going to be running a mountain lodge for the weekend.
After visiting with Chip and Rich for about an hour I headed back down to my car in the upper lot. I saw a large number of tents far off in the woods on my way out. Heard peepers in lower Weakley Hollow. Dropped the radio off and headed home. No injuries, some litter, no illegal fire rings and no campers violating the regs.
Another great day on the mountain.

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