Monday, November 23, 2009

Trail Patrol Again Sat. Nov.21, 2009

Trail Patrol Again Sat. Nov.21, 2009

I am back to doing PATC Trail Patrols until sometime next Spring. Because of this I shifted to a little bit later schedule knowing I wanted to do a long slow circuit that landed me on the summit around dark.

I have purposely taken and posted pictures taken from the same spot over the last several weeks so as to provide a reference for the progression of fall color changes. My September 27, 2009 post shows this view of Old Rag in full summer time green and the October 11, 2009 shows this view just as the colors started to change. This one shows it with just about all the leaves off the trees.

I was surprised to find the lower lot was fairly full. At least a tenth of these cars were from two Scout troops that were doing a fairly large day hike and overnight.
Some of the Scouts who had finished their day hike of Old Rag and were picking up their packs before hiking back up the fire road and setting up a campsite along Brokenback Run. For a second weekend in a row the streams were high with lots of cascading water.

Looking back at the first false summit around 17:00. Not much light left. Only saw one party on the mountain after this picture and they had lights. Most were down off Old Rag by 17:30 when lights would have been needed.

Just below the Chute at around 17:00

The Summit at around 18:00. It is amazing how early it becomes dark now. On my way out I spoke to a nice group of campers at Old Rag Shelter. About half way between the metal bridge and upper lot I could see the lights of the boy scout camp site several hundred yards off the road. There was one report of a hiking party late to return from an Old Rag hike but it resolved itself. The litter was not too bad and I did not have any medicals. I did not see any illegal open fires or dogs.
Sunday was my first day in five or six weeks that I did not have a scheduled work or volunteer activity. The downtime was welcomed.
Next week is Thanksgiving and I will be voyaging to Central New York to have dinner with the extended family at my folks home between Cazenovia and Hamilton New York.
The Finger Lakes Trail which did not exist in my youth runs east west just a few miles from my parent's house. The Finger Lakes Trail is part of the longest current hiking trail in the US called the North Country Trail which runs from New York to North Dakota. I find the network of trails being created and maintained by hundreds of passionate local hiking groups amazing. Each stand alone segment is a tremendous resource. String a number of those segments together and before you know it you have a long trail. Then people realize it would be neat to interconnect the long trails and suddenly everyone has a passion to make that interconnection happen.
Link for Finger Lakes Trail:
Link for the North Country Trail:
Link for neat map of many of the US Long Trails:
(Start of Humor Tag)
I used to think that the efforts of all the local trail organizations were spontaneous. Then the Bureau of Land Management took down a web page detailing the many interconnected long trails. I wondered what their motivation was? This caused me to ponder about the fact that the International Appalachian Trail seems to be a well kept secret? Yes and what about all those aliases used by hikers and the fact they are always trying to leave no trace? The interstate highway system funding was partially justified for military logistic reasons maybe the same is true of our national hiking trails system? I bet that just about all military bases as well as any well known non-disclosed locations would be found to lie within a few days hike of one of the existing or planned trails? I bet those seven Leave No Trace principal actually have hidden meanings? My little ember of gnawing suspicion is now growing into an outright bonfire.
(End of Humor Tag)
Of course information about the International Appalachian Trail can easily be found at;
Have a great Thanksgiving

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