Monday, June 1, 2009

Sunday May 31, 2009 New Shirts and Fireflies

Sunday May 31, 2009

Just as GLOWUORMS (the Global Worldwide Union of Old Rag Mountain Stewards) was pondering a strike, our shirts arrived and the need for the strike disappeared along with the morning mist. Now the hikers will be able to recognize us even from a distance.

Just look for the big giant Red Spotted Newt(Eft) colored folks with the Old Rag Trillium blaze on their shirts.

Newts and other little creatures are often on the trail please be careful not to step on them. The newts often come out onto the trail during and after rain storms. Despite their beautiful color they are not as easy to spot as a Mountain Steward. On the other hand if your not seeing one of these guys good luck with the Copperheads and Rattlesnakes which sometimes (fairly rare but it does happen) cross our trails.

Of course the better you get at seeing these things the better you will get at seeing any visually obnoxious gag reflex inducing litter left by those who have not heard about Leave No Trace. We have a lot of newbies on this mountain please get up to speed on outdoor ethics.

Except on our shirts I did not see any Trilliums they have truly passed until 2010. The Pinxter/Mt Azela bloom was in its last waning. The Mt Laurel were in the earliest stages of their 2009 bloom. Speaking of waxing and waning we had around a half moon showing in the late afternoon and evening.

He is very quiet, not much for conversation. My shadow very seldom scares any wildlife away. He seems to only like to join me on fair weather daytime hikes and he is not fond of the noonday sun(he never carries enough water). My shadow has been known to join me on rare bright-moonlit hikes. Even though he appears to be deaf, dumb and blind he is an idiot savant at both playing monkey-see monkey-do and also at practicing perfect Leave No Trace ethics.
Master trackers and sign cutters are taught that their only clues when tracking a shadow will come from past eye witness accounts, pictures, or by tracking the person whom the shadow has a symbiotic (some argue parasitic) relationship with. Considering this last fact, as a favor to your shadow, please behave such that no master tracker can find your shadow through your careless mistakes. You may even want to consider going one better than taking nothing but pictures and leaving nothing but footprints since these are the primary clues a master shadow tracker will be looking for.
If your shadow could talk he would tell you that the one allowable exception to this request is when you are lost and need to be found.
Struggling between his advocacy for Old Rag Mountain and his desire never to found by a master tracker my shadow would only release me to use this photgraph of him if I waited at least 12 hours before posting it.

Shenandoah Sunset from near CCC Stairs. If your hiking party is seeing a scene similar to this one than each member should have a light and a backup light. That is unless you intend to bivouac over night and hopefully survive to see the sunrise.

Travelling down the fireroad in the dark I saw the flashing of my first fireflies of 2009. I have spent evenings on the fire roads when their displays were absolutely magical. Mid June to late July seem to be the prime times for Firefly displays. Sometime during August their numbers slowly fade. I was surprised to learn from my young west coast nieces and nephews that they had never seen them before. Turns out there are no fireflies on the west coast. Such a shame for such a wonderous act of nature not to be shared by the whole world.

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