Monday, June 15, 2009

Sunday, June 14, 2008 Feels Like Summer

Sunday, June 14, 2009

It is starting to feel like summer. I did not get home to Woodbridge from an Annapolis wedding until 2AM in the morning so a nice SLOW (limited crowd) warm early summer day patrolling Old Rag was welcomed. There was still some Mountain Laurel blooms showing but I am sorry to report that I think they are past their peak for 2009. This year was a great year for Pinxters on Old Rag but not so much so for the Mountain Laurel.

This Sunday definitely felt like a hazy day of summer. Adding to the summer feel I saw too young ladies hiking Old Rag in sneakers and bikinis. (Do not try this without a good supply of bug repellent.) I think their boyfriends were carrying their 10 essentials and water.

My Shadow prepares for a day of Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.

Every kid should have a country road, woods, streams, mountains and pastures to grow up near.
When kids get a little bigger and know more about what they are doing they can graduate to more adventuresome country activities. At some point they become adults and we can only hope their continual and gradual training gives them the tools to responsibly handle the challenges and responsibilities of their adult lifes. Happy early Father's Day.

Looking back up rock scramble towards the first false summit.

Looking back at first false summit from just below the cave. Double click on this picture and look for the hiker in the green shirt. The trail actually goes up the other side of the false summit. I am not sure if this hiker was just exploring or lost. They eventually went back into the big crevice(hidden in this picture) which starts the rock scramble and then showed up coming up the trail.

The hiker in the picture below had just finished walking out to the end of the top of what I call Atlas rock and had jumped up and down on it declaring to his group he was trying to get it to finally slide off its mooring. Neither he nor his group were concerned. I on the other hand decided to stay out of the fall line.

I have known of some very large rocks that were precariously perched for thousands years which finally did actually come loose during my lifespan. (The Gendarme at Seneca Rocks W. VA which I and thousands of other rock climbers summited probably had a mass that was many times that of this rock and it stuck up 40 to 50 feet like a sentinel. It leaned slightly out over a cliff and was attached at its base by an uncomfortably small amount of rock. Local lore had it that someone who felt it a safety hazard had tried unsuccessfully in the 1950's to use explosives to get it to fall. It finally broke its moorings during the fall of 1987. Fortunately no climbers were on it or in its fall line. The climbers used to say you had not truly summited it until you balanced on its top with both arms lifted up and out to your sides like a cross. On windy days this balancing act was definitely the crux for acrophobic climbers like myself. For a picture of a climber on top of the Gendarme before it fell go to this )

As any hiker who has surmounted the challenge of the Chute will tell you this picture does not do it justice. Virtually no back ups at the Chute today.

Summit picture made up of several photostiched photos.

Deer near junction of fire roads at the site of the old village of Old Rag.

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