Monday, August 31, 2009

Sat/Sun August 29/30 2009


A busy upper lot just before the start of my Saturday circuit of Old Rag.
Turned out to be a pretty day.

Nice clouds.

The upper Ridge Trail had some pretty flowers. This is a great shot of the species but truth be told I took this picture on a back-road near Woodville on my way to Old Rag. I believe this is Giant Sunflower.

Earlier I had said that I believed that flowers contained in these two pictures were the same species. I believe I was wrong. I think that the flower above is a Giant Sunflower and the one below is a Woodland Sunflower. The flowers look very similar but the one above was growing over ten foot tall in a road side pasture the the one below was under a sparse tree cover and was only about 2-3 foot tall. The following shot was taken just below the Skyline Wall on the upper Ridge Trail. While not as prolific as the riot of flowers on the Giant Sunflower plants there were several hundred of these flowers along one fifty foot section of the trail.

These little tiny ants were having a feast on a dropped Goldfish cracker.

Sunset from the summit of Old Rag.

OOPS in the picture below it would seem a Girl Scout must have missed the Leave No Trace lessons. Her mirror case and lots of little broken pieces of mirror were litter items I picked up off the trail. Actually the individual who dropped this item was probably not aware that it had been dropped. Subsequent individuals who saw it and or stepped on it probably should have picked it up.
Even rabid practitioners of LNT make mistakes. Often they are individually unaware of their mistake. At other times there is a collective unconsciousness that their current behavior is unethical. For example, were the first climbers up Everest doing anything unethical when they left empty oxygen bottles or even dead companions high on Everest? Today, climbers of Everest are judged with a different standard. Twenty years from now the standard will be different than today's. Do you consider the early human artifacts left on the Moon or Mars unethical behaviour? Yet there will most likely come a time when it will be considered inappropriate to just willy nilly leave junked space vehicles on the Moon or Mars.
It is not unusual for individuals new to the outdoors to either not understand or not be good at practicing proper outdoor ethics. Yet with time, these novices will often turn out to be the best practitioners and strongest advocates of outdoor ethics.
We all continuously impact the resources we cherish. The most we can hope for is to lessen the amount of that continuous impact and to make sure that the benefits received warrant the cost. Starting a forty acre wildfire deep in the Alaskan wilds may be appropriate if it is the only way to save a human life. With hind sight would it not have been better to clear cut Mt St.Helens before it disappeared? Despite my good intentions this blog will have unintended negative consequences for Old Rag. Do the benefits outweigh the costs? There are an infinite number of grey scale variables to be weighed. I have come to the conclusion that it is usually best not to get too judgemental of your own or others decisions/actions related to these complicated questions.
Before finally getting to the picture below, it should be said that I believe that despite the many mistakes made by inexperienced scouts and their volunteer leaders, that in the end the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts organizations and their members provide overwhelming good toward the advancement of outdoor ethics.
On my way out in the dark under headlamp I encountered a very pretty young Copperhead crossing the Saddle Trail. When I first came upon him he was sitting on top of this rock right in the middle of the trail. By the time I got my camera out he had slipped behind the rock. Double click picture to zoom in and see his little head peaking up.

A better head shot after he moved on up the bank on the side of the trail.

You are a good looking little guy. Glad I did not step on you. Bye, bye so long farewell.

Sunday August 30, 2009

I only did an up and back to the first false summit. Looking up the rock scramble just before sunset.

Some pretty orange mushrooms spotted on the way out. This orange reminds me the Old Rag Mountain Stewards will be on the mountain next weekend wearing their orange tee shirts with the Old Rag Trillium blaze. You can obtain one of these tee shirts by joining the Old Rag Mountain Stewards.

Sunset from near the no camping sign on the Ridge Trail.

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