Thursday, October 28, 2010

Saturday and Sunday
October 23&24, 2010
An Estimated 3,000 Visitors

Still a lot of green for this late in October. On good weather days expect that the parking lot may be full and you will need to pay $10 per car to park in the neighbor's private pasture in addition to the park's entrance fee.
The following wind swept tree has always been a favorite of mine.

Chad and Jeremy fit in a little bit of filming for their climbing mockumentary.

YEE HA the weather was wonderful all weekend. To top it off we had a full moon.

Another wonderful Old Rag sunset.

Sunday sunrise from near Byrds Nest.

Very early morning light from the summit. Despite the record number of visitors there were no major incidents on Saturday or Sunday. ORMS treated a number of cramps and a very deep cut and got in lots of response training and high angle technical practice. As close to a perfect weekend as one could hope for.

The moon had not yet set.

I almost never see walking sticks until Fall and then I see lots. I assume that they come down from high up in the trees as the tempertures drop and leaves start to fall.

The Crush by Trebor Kool

Dedicated with a warm friendly smile to WG.

It was not a mid-summer night but Puck was working his mischief.

Old Rag was exuding its natural healthy beauty when a chance meeting triggered a cascade of dopamine and that foolish human inebriation called infatuation. A crush. Last week's barely noticed Paraclete became this week's entrancement. How silly that someone you just met and hardly know can cause such powerful emotions.

For a couple days an avalanche of spinning rapturous delirium enslaved a soul.

Mixing swirling human emotions .....rapids, pounding misty water falls, followed by wide calm flat water, and gentle ocean swells.

A dying fire... Gentle warm rains on the roof... The sweet musty smell of wet fallen leaves wafting through an open window.... One last sip of Gran Marnier.... A warm comforter, an embraced pillow and day dreams slip into peaceful sleep.

Monday, October 25, 2010

October 23&24, 2010 Huge Numbers

Saturday and Sunday
October 23&24, 2010
Huge Numbers of Visitors
Great Weather
Fall Colors
Full Moon

Just a quick post. A better post later in the week.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Saturday and Sunday
October 16-17, 2010
Helicopter Evacuation
Wilderness Weekend
Shenandoah National Park

SNP hosted PATC at Pinnacles Research Station for Friday and Saturday night. We had a couple of folks staying who were doing trail work both days and the rest of the PATC crew were helping SNP with Wilderness Weekend. My plan was to do Wilderness Weekend outreach and interpretation while doing my two days on Old Rag with the Old Rag Mountain Stewards.

The weather was stupendous. The prior year we had the years first snow during Wilderness Weekend check out my blog posting for Wilderness Weekend 2009 to see how different the weather can be year to year.

Saturday morning I woke up early to catch Old Rag in the sunrise pictured in the next three shots.

I had a great breakfast and meeting with PATC and SNP concerning Wilderness Weekend before heading down to my Old Rag Mountain Steward meeting in the Old Rag parking lot.
The picture below is looking up the Ridge Trail from the first false summit. With fall leaf colors we get large numbers of hikers on Old Rag. My plan was to do Wilderness Weekend interpretation and outreach at some of the back up lines in the rock scramble.
I had done some Wilderness Weekend interpretation in the rock scramble when a radio call about an injury on Old Rag came in. I was at the little cave on the rock scramble and the injury was at R30 or the base of the Chute so I was the closest available team member and able to respond quickly.
As I was motoring up the trail I met a member of the injured hikers party headed downhill in hopes of going for help. I was able to let her know that the incident had somehow already been reported and I and others were starting our response and she could return to her friend with me.
Upon arriving at the incident I found two good Samaritans who happened to have first responder and nursing training helping the patient. Shortly after that a father who was a Doctor and his son who was an EMT where able to provide help with assessment.
There are a lot of folks who help in these responses. Many thanks to all of you who helped on Saturday.
Within around an hour the rest of ORMS team and initial SNP response resources arrived with lots of medical supplies and technical rescue equipment. Within ORMS and the SNP there are individuals with months and months of training and first response experience. I was really glad to see more highly trained members of the team when they arrived.
The injury was significant and the location it took place is arguably the most remote in terms of the time it takes to get a patient off the mountain. Because of high winds it seemed that we were not going to be able use a helicopter evacuation and we initiated the long process of doing a carryout. A carryout from this location can take eight to fifteen hours and requires a lot of human exertion and technical rescue rope work. Just as we had the patient secured in the liter and the ropes set up for the first and most significant lift the winds died down. Given the nature of the injury and the fact the winds had died down the response team was able to switch plans and execute a helicopter lift out from just a short ways below the chute near a rock formation called Atlas aka Whale Rock. Since Silver Spring Wanderer did such a good write up I am going to refer you to that blog and post some pictures I was able to sneak in during a couple rare seconds that I was not busy with response duties.

Patient responders and patient's friends at the incident scene. At this particular moment the patient's friends had to give responders room to do their work but they were of tremendous help during the incident. Many kudos to the patient for her grit, courage, good spirits and ability to help deal with a very difficult situation. She did not volunteer for her position but even with her limitations she was a great member of the response team.
The next pictures are all of the helicopter extraction using a Billy Pugh Basket. The pictures are not in chronological order.

All the black specs in the picture are from the leaves that were being blown up off the ground from the helicopter's down-wash and as it happens some gusting wind that decided to start up just as the victim was getting loaded in the basket.

The next day ORMS spent the very first part of our day resupplying and resetting all our search and rescue emergency equipment and then spent the rest of our day training and providing our non-emergency services to the natural resource and park visitors.
As you can tell from the following picture of Mt Robertson from Old Rag's Saddle Trail that it was another wonderful fall day. The colors were still not at peak on Mt Robertson but by mid November the leaves will almost all be on the ground.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wilderness Weekend In Shenandoah National Park
October 16-17, 2010

Shenandoah National Park Celebrates Wilderness!
Celebrate America’s wilderness heritage during Shenandoah National Park’s annual Wilderness Weekend, held the third weekend of October. One of the largest wilderness areas in the Eastern United States, Shenandoah’s wilderness offers opportunities for solitude, scenic views, wildlife sightings, and glimpses into the past. Experience Shenandoah’s wilderness by hiking through it or looking into it from Skyline Drive.
Special events take place at Byrd Visitor Center, milepost 51 on Skyline Drive. Shenandoah National Park Trail Crews and PATC volunteers share their expertise in the traditional tools used to maintain trails in wilderness. Visitors can try their hands at using these tools and gain insight on the important role trail maintenance plays in protecting wilderness for future generations. Short talks by rangers during the day explore the history and values of Shenandoah’s wilderness.
Wilderness Weekend is a partnership between Shenandoah National Park, the Shenandoah Park Association, and the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC). PATC volunteers are at several overlooks along Skyline Drive to share information about Shenandoah’s wilderness with visitors enjoying the park’s fall foliage.
Shenandoah’s wilderness was designated by Congress in October 1976. Forty percent of the park, almost 80,000 acres, is wilderness and represents one of the largest wilderness areas in the eastern United States. Areas preserved as wilderness provide sanctuaries for human recreation, habitat for wildlife, sites for research, and reservoirs for clean, free-flowing water. Wilderness areas have been designated on public land across the United States. Today more than 109 million acres of public land are protected in the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More Of Columbus Day Weekend

From Nethers on Saturday morning.
Sunday mourning sunrise near Byrds Nest.

Some more photos of ORMS rappel practice on Sunday.

Sunset from summit on Monday evening. No pictures but almost stepping on a Copperhead in the dusk and then about twenty minutes later seeing a momma mouse carrying one of her babies were memorable moments.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Columbus Day Weekend

October 9-11, 2010 Columbus Day Weekend
The Early Release

A quick first post.

Saturday Night Sunset

Sunday ORMS rappel practice

Early Sunday morning looking down to first false summit from near the top of the Chute in the Rock Scramble. Mostly green but the many trees had started to change.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Saturday October 2, 2010

Saturday October 2, 2010
After the rain. Cool and Clear
Busy October Is Here

The Old Rag parking lot filled by around noon. If you are lucky the neighbors will open their pasture for parking so you do not need to return home without doing your hike. If they do this they charge $10 per vehicle. The fees charged by the park are for entrance into the park not parking. If you need to park on the private property and pay for parking you still need to pay for the park fees.

During October when the fall colors and nice weather draw large numbers of hikers to Old Rag expect there to be lines at the choke points in the rock scramble.

The line at the Chute.