Monday, July 27, 2009

Sat/Sun July 25/26 2009 SUMMER

July 25th and 26th Saturday and Sunday

On Saturday did a complete circuit up Ridge and Down Saddle out fire roads. Saw Chad and Liz who were doing a circuit with a whole group of Liz's friends. There was a note left at fee station about a couple of my PATC friends who were hiking in the Hannah Run area. Just at the beginning of Rock Scramble got hit by first downpour after which a break in the storm allowed me to get to the cave before there was the most amazing downpour complete with high winds and lightning. It was beutiful to watch from the safety of the cave but I was sure glad I was not out in the weather. The rest of the day proved dry.

On Sunday I only went up the fire roads to Old Rag Shelter and back but a very nice amble.




Monday, July 20, 2009

Sunday July 18, 2009


First weekend working as a PATC Trail Patroler as opposed to Old Rag Mountain Steward. Stewards return in the fall. Great day with light crowds. Gave out lots of the typical information and advice no emergencies.

Once again the walk from the lower lot to upper lot shines.
Long shadows looking down the ridge from the summit as the day fades.


Startled a mother bear and her two cubs behind Old Rag Shelter. Mom ran into the bush and the cubs headed for the trees.
First cub scrambled straight up thirty feet to a fork in his trees trunk.

Second cub decided to spend a few seconds checking me out. After taking this shot I tried to get closer but he scrambled about 50 feet up into this tree.

Zoomed for you.

Saturday July 18, 2009 PATC HIKE LEADER TRAINING


Great day of training at PATC Headquarters. Required of PATC Hike Leaders but a good course for anyone who will be a leader of hikes.

Headed out for scenario practice.

Picture distorted on purpose.

Friday, July 17, 2009


They took all the trees And put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people A dollar and a half just to see 'em Don't it always seem to go, That you don't know what you’ve got‘Til it’s gone They paved paradise And put up a parking lot Carly Simon

Unlike the urban parking lots which are the subject of Carly Simon's song the new Old Rag parking lot is actually a good thing. They are leaving the trees in the woods but there will be a small administrative charge just to see' um.

SNP has finally released the proposed future plans for how parking will be handled on Old Rag.

Based On My Quick Read Here Is The Nutshell:
A new closer lot with 140-160 spaces will be developed and opened. The small upper lot will be closed. The existing lower lot will be kept but reduced by 140-160 spaces. A reservation systems will be implemented so that hikers coming from a distance will know if they have a parking space before they set out on their drive to the Old Rag parking lot.

For more information see:

News Article

SNP Planning Document

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sunday July 12, 2009 Last ORMS Weekend Until Fall
Very quiet lazy crazy hazy day of summer. First day it felt hot, humid and sweaty in a long time. No medicals or seperated parties. Lots of information and advice provided. I did an up and back on the fire roads and Saddle Trail. About a mile and a half up the road had to return to get new battery for my radio but got some very helpful rides which saved some time. Met up with the other stewards (Ann, Jeremy, Maria) doing their loop in the other direction just near the slab that overlooks Byrds Nest Shelter. They were having a quiet day as well. On Saturday the stewards had to help a hiker who dislocated their shoulder in the rock scramble. I had lots of reports of a rattlesnake on the trail but I did not see it myself.

Once on top I hung out on the summit until about 18:30. Got back down and left the lower lot at 21:30.

ORMS is not back on the mountain until late August early September but I will be doing patrols as a PATC Trail Patroller until then.

The start of the patrol.

Summit Climbers

Summit Climbers Closer

Climbers closer still.

Mount Robertson Panorama (stichted together double click for higher resolution)

Summer berries.

Bridge over lower Brokenback Run and a bridge to my PATC Trail Patrols until ORMS is back on duty in the Fall.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sunday, July 5, 2009 Interesting Weather

Sunday, July 5, 2009 Interesting Weather

Manassas had partly sunny and 81 degrees while Old Rag had light rain and 65 degrees all day.

Less than 100 hikers on the mountain today. With the lack of hikers we got in a lot of plant identification and scenario training. No medical or search incidents. Exchanged greetings and sometimes provided information to the few hiking parties encountered.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Friday July 3, 2009 Old Rag Summer

Friday, July 3, 2009

Cool partly cloudy early summer day. Only 62 degrees on the summit at 8PM. I was patrolling for PATC Trail Patrol today. Fairly large turn out for the hike today. The lower lot was about seven eigths full. Lots of information provided but no medical or search incidents. I spent a lot of time working on my list of the Blaze numbers and did a small bushwack to check on some smoke that had been seen from the fee station.

I have come to greatly enjoy the walk from the lower lot to the upper lot. The following pictures of flowers and wineberries are all taken along the road to the upper lot.

Groups that park in the upper lot miss some good parts of the hike.
People get so fixated on being able to score a parking place in the upper lot they often park illegally along the road. Snagging one of these coveted spaces makes some visitors as crazy as a buck during rut.
Imagine the upper lot is your drive way at the end of the cul-de-sac. Your neighbors understood when at the time of your kid's wedding, graduation party, or when you hosted Thanksgiving that you had fifteen cars parked on the road. But when you started hosting a hugely popular yard sale every weekend and some customers were so rude as to leave tire ruts on your neighbors lawns something had to change.
Back to reality, the land right up to the very edge of the upper lot is private land on both sides of the road. Cars are not allowed to park on the pavement and land owners are tired of people parking on their land. Signs, baricades, cones, park traffic enforcement vehicles and park law enforcement officers have not succeeded in the face of some hikers' overpowering need to score an upper lot space.
After an irritating problem exists for a long time you sometimes learn to just live with it until a tipping point is reached. My sense is that we are at a tipping point. I have no clue what the cascade of events will be but it feels like a thunderstorm of changes are brewing.
Some day you may be able to brag to your grandson about how in the old days you would wake up extra early so you could limo half way up the mountain.


The blue blazes with numbers in them have meaning to the 24X7 communications center for Shenandoah National Park. If you need to phone an emergency in it would be good if you know what the closest blaze with a number on it is. Other than their use for emergency response these blazes have no other known use.
If you can not find a blaze with a number than any other way to concisely and accurately describe the injured parties location is the next best thing. If you are reporting a missing party it would be good to be prepared to provide descriptions, last point the party was seen and their direction of travel, and any other pertinet information.

The following are some early evening shots among the boulders on the Ridge Trail. Nice clouds on this evening.