Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Columbus Day Weekend and Weekend After

While driving around and some of the hollows bordering SNP I took a picture of this well built stone wall.   It ran along the road for over a half mile.   No mortar but very square and well kept.

The three day Columbus Day weekend rained and rained and rained.  Louise and I managed to go for a few short walks around the cabin during spells when the rain slowed down to a drizzle.    For the rest of the time we sat on the big covered front porch enjoying the wild life, reading and conversation or were inside compulsively working on a 1,000 piece jig-saw puzzle that featured historic Virginia.    One of the delightful bird songs came after dusk from a Barred Owl doing his "Who who who cooks for you"

Fall colors are here for the next few weeks.

The weekend after Columbus Day I taught a Saturday introduction to LNT for the Mid-Atlantic Climbers during their Great Falls National Park adopt a Crag work day after which a ran out to the Vining Tract on the eastern border of the southern part of the SNP in order to have dinner and spend the night with PATC Trail Patrollers who had rented Mutton Top cottage for the weekend. 
On the way there I stopped at the Old Rag Parking lot to see if things were crazy busy(first weekend after the government shutdown ended).   I was surprised to find that it was not much busier than I would have expected for a nice mid-October Saturday.  (The parking lot was full with an additional 130 cars in the neighbors pasture.)    I arrived after the Rangers had left so answered questions from hikers arriving back in the parking lot after their circuit hike of Old Rag.   For about an hour I answered all the typical questions and helped with a separated party issue that resolved itself after about a half hour.   
Just as I was about to leave a couple who look a little befuddled were staring at the map on the back of the interpretive sign so I asked if they had a question.    The question was, "Where are we?  This is not where we parked.  This is where we wanted to park but could not find it"    I asked where they parked and they said they were not sure but it sounded something like "Sleepy Hollow".    I asked "Did you mean Berry Hollow" ?   Oh yes that is it.    I started to explain to them how to get to their car but realized it was already near sunset and close to getting dark so  I asked if they had lights?  The answer was no.   Not having any backpacks, looking fairly lightly dressed, and clearly not knowing what the ten essential systems were I figured it best that I drive them to their car on my way to Mutton Top Cabin.   They were a very nice couple in their early 60's and we had a good conversation on the way to their  car.   They said they had a great time and wanted to hike more.   I was not sure giving them advice as to how to go on other hikes would be the best thing I could do for them but it was clear to me they were going to most likely do more hiking regardless of how much I did or did not help them.    I used the 25 minute ride to try and give them basic outdoor-hiking pointers along with suggestions about how to find additional resources.    Sometimes but not always,  the best adventures are mis-adventures.

On Sunday I  hung out with the PATC Trail Patrollers until around noon then went to Old Rag to hike and do volunteer outreach


A cloudless sky so the sunset did not involve much color.   It is interesting to notice how far the place the sun drops below the horizon changes with the passage of the seasons.    I like to try to visualize the Sun being still and the giant ball called Earth that I am sitting on slowly rotating me away from the sun.    It was too cold on Sunday night for the frogs to engage in their chorus.   Perhaps it will be next summer until I hear them again.

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