Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Early Spring Fever

FEBRUARY 19 and 20, 2011

With folks feeling early Spring Fever on Saturday the parking lot was three quarters full. I had a report of someone who had dislocated their shoulder but had been able to get it back in place. The same person was having a really bad day and was also suffering from a Charlie Horse. As is typical, I was heading up very late in the day and told folks that reported the person having trouble I would keep an eye out for the shoulder person. I never caught up to this group but a number of groups heading down the scramble were able to tell me that the individual seemed to be doing well.

As the weather gets warmer it is routine for hikers on Old Rag to get cramps. Make sure to load up with some electrolytes and perhaps even bring a few with your group.

If you have a shoulder that is prone to dislocating it seems the Chute presents conditions favorable to causing shoulders to dislocate. The Chute is the spot between R30 and R31. This is the place where you will sometimes see a fixed rope. If you have a trick shoulder be especially careful here.

Please do not fill out the ends of any of the rows of cars in the parking lot. In other words leave space for cars, horse trailers, or large emergency vehicles to be able to drive to the back parts of the parking lot. It is useful if you do this on both ends of a row so that if someone forgets at least one end is open.

The next picture is distorted because it is a 180 degree stitched shot of the parking lot from the bench in front of the Contact Station. There were about 120 cars in the lot when this picture was taken around 1PM.

If you look at last week's pictures you will see that there is a picture taken in the exact same spot as the next picture. In last week's picture there was lots of ice. It is amazing how much different the personality of the mountain can be on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis during the winter and the winter transition seasons. If you look at last years pictures from the same time you will find it was just after Snowmegeddon and deep snow conditions still existed on Old Rag.
The smoke that you can see in the next picture is from a forest fire in located in the North District of SNP. I met several hiking parties that had been redirected to Old Rag because Skyline Drive in the North District was closed due to the fire.

Be especially careful about fire during high wind conditions. Even with soil conditions being very moist last week there were numerous brush fires because of the high winds.

A summit shot about an hour before sunset. The winds across the summit were gusting to at least fifty miles per hour through the little gap in the summit boulders where this picture was taken.

The skies where crystal clear on Saturday so there were no clouds to turn pink or purple.
Old Rag has its most stellar sunsets when there are clouds on the Old Rag side of Skyline Drive but open skies on the western side of Skyline Drive. About ten or fifteen minutes after the sun goes below the horizon the clouds will usually light up with color.

Sunday was a cloudy grey day. There were still quite a few folks on the mountain considering it was a February weekend but probably only half the number that were on the mountain on the Saturday. It was one of those quiet contemplative days.

This short video will give you a little bit of a sense of the winds on Saturday.

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