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.

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