Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunday October 25, 2009 PEAK LEAVES PEAK CROWDS

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Old Rag from the road before the lower lot if you had a telescope you could see the crowds streaming up the trail.

This title may be used for a future electronic game in which hapless Keystone Cop like volunteers are pitted against supremely wily, passionate and resourceful pet owners.

Gotta love em!

The fee station staff was kept busy today.

A couple of hiking groups headed up the road to the trail head.
"No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible." —George Burns.

Most groups enjoy a refreshing pause at the spot shown in the next picture.
There is no camping allowed between this spot on the Ridge Trail at about 2,400 feet and Byrd's Nest Shelter at about 2,800 feet on the Saddle Trail.

Old Rag contains some very fragile micro-habitats. Old Rag is like an island in the sky. Many plants located here do not exist again until you get hundreds of miles from Old Rag. Like remote islands there are even species and or sub-species that are unique just to Old Rag's micro-habitat. Once destroyed there is no way for them to be re-established.

Steward Ben during one of our frequent life is good moments.

Looking across Weakley Hollow towards Skyline Drive and the Appalachian Trail.

Lots and lots of hikers enjoying the day.

A zoomed shot of the Chute from the First False Summit.
The next picture was taken while waiting in a line which stretched a tenth of a mile to the Chute, 528.6 linear feet, 120 vertical feet, about six stories and two city blocks or from R28 to R31.
Note: If you expand the picture below you can see a hiker high up on the cliff face (one example of tens I saw this day) who was tired of waiting in line and was trying his luck at an alternative route. While there is no rule against this it is highly advised against. Going off trail you are trampling ground not routinely trampled upon. A fall will end with a literal impact on the resource. Non-ambulatory injuries put huge demands on the folks who need to respond.
I know many accomplished climbers whom I would not be nervous watching free solo these alternate routes. I would be confident that their practiced skills and deep experience allowed them to be Clipped-Into-Themselves -Pat Ament- . But on this day, most of those I saw attempting these alternate routes did not display any signs that they possessed the skill and experience to be relatively safe on their free solo adventures. Being too far away I was not in a good position to suggest they alter their behaviour.
There is a definite morbid fascination and pleasure I get from watching these individuals' mini-dramas (Patroller/Steward TV) but I eventually need to get on with my steward/patrol duties. After all, I will find out soon enough if I need to respond to something bad happening.
Don't worry be happy. In every life we have some trouble. When you worry you make it double. -Bobby McFerrin-
Expect changes to ORMS over time. The Old Rag Mountain Steward program is still in its infancy. The topic of how ORMS can best perform its mission is under constant review. Lessons are constantly being learned and improvements are constantly being made. Do not make any assumptions or plans based on any of our past behaviours.
This is actually good advice for any of your visits to the outdoors. Go assuming your own self sufficiency. Do not assume the friendly fee station staff will give you a map. Come with your own map. Do not assume there will be extra water at the fee station make sure you have brought enough. Do not assume a friendly steward will be there to help. Stewards may not be on the mountain or may be fully occupied.
A HYPOTHETICAL FUTURE (Is that redundant?)
It is not that hard for me to imagine a far distant future in the which the trail has purposely been removed, all maps containing wilderness areas have been changed so they only show a large blank area labeled WILDERNESS, all guidebooks to wilderness areas have been banned, and it is against the rules to provide assistance of any kind to park visitors located in managed wilderness areas. (Is that an oxymoron?).
We do not carry injured bears out on a litter why should humans be any different? If wildlife could vote humans would be designated an invasive species.
-extracted from the majority opininion of a hypothetical Supreme Court Case-
(Is it magniloquent to pose as a hypothetical Supreme Court Judge, or what)


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