Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Along the AT

Nov 6 2006

A milkweed seed opens its chute and prepares to soar over the Shenandoah Valley.

A great hike on a beautiful day! Complete with views of ice in the shadows, fifty degree sunshine and hot chocolate on the roof of Shenandoah. Throw in some good company and a pinch of wildlife watching and you’ve got the recipe for a memorable day!

After a short break hikers prepare to move out.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A ROMP on Old Rag

A ROMP on Old Rag
Nov 4 2006

The group listens as park botanists speak.

Around 40 participants gathered amid the falling leaves for the park service led Rock Outcrop Management Project field trip. The very first arrivals were greeted with warm doughnuts and muffins from the Apple Hill Bakery. In the morning's freezing temps, the doughnuts cooled quickly but the donated coffee from Central Coffee Roasters stayed hot and everyone had their fill.

The morning treats brought by SMG were later used to coerce participants into carrying around trash bags all day. Maybe it was the coffee or maybe it was the cold but it was a quick trip up the mountain despite making new friends and chatting with old. Stops were made at various points of interest near the top of the mountain. The group discussed problems, solutions, and alternative solutions. The day got nicer, the ideas got brighter, the trash bags got filled. Some stayed around to climb the classic cracks. Some centered their attention on the trash-cluttered cracks at the summit. Most just had to head home.

One guide spent too much time looking for antique litter and ended up hiking down alone with a ripped trash bag. As the hole in the bag expanded, the bag moved from one hand, to two, to a bear hug position where the ragged rip could be eyed so no litter could fall back out. What could get out was the smell of the not-so-old sardine can. But if taking a large bag of trash off the top of the mountain doesn’t make it seem worth it, a doughnut, a cup of coffee and a country road will.

Buried in the clean-up and hoping that the jacket is ripstop.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

In Between the Inns

Oct 23-24 2006

Stunning views of fall and all its glory dominated our Inn-to-Inn hike. The cool air and clear views transported us to somewhere much farther than Virginia. On day one we enjoyed the birds-eye perspective of a ridge hike on the AT and on day two we dropped into the forest for a closer look. We opted for the falls of the Rose River loop and were not let down. Then again sunlight shining through warm fall colors on a crisp autumn day seldom disappoints.

(Neither of the large falls seen on the loop, just fall)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Holes to Heaven

Oct 19, 2006

Driving out of a sea of valley fog into the peak color of the mountaintops at sunrise was perfect preparation for the day.
With the valley washed in white only the vibrant foliage at around 3500' could be seen as we hiked down to Lewis Falls (the third largest in the park). A picture is worth a thousand words.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Open Invitation

Open Invitation
(Old Rag summit area)
Hello friends,
As you all know, fall is here. The color is in at higher elevation, days are getting shorter, ice is forming not to far north, and the ROMP (Rock Outcrop Management Project) Old Rag field trip on Nov 4 is rapidly approaching. At Shenandoah Mountain Guides we are excited about this opportunity to work with other climbers and the park in developing a sustainable outcrop management plan for our best local climbing area.
Having spent countless trips climbing and hiking on the mountain we have, as you have, noticed many changes. One unfortunate detriment to the mountain is the large amount of trash piled up in the many cracks and fissures surrounding the summit area. We truly believe that most of this is not left due to heedless hikers, but rather, that the challenge and danger of removing carelessly lost items overcomes wilderness ethic. Enter climbers. We not only thrive on challenge and danger, but we love nothing better than squirming our bodies into and out of course granite cracks!
We are proposing a post ROMP field trip, summit area cleanup. We will bring hefty trash bags, gear, ropes and maybe a snack but we could use some more manpower. We will be spending a couple beautiful fall hours removing human impact from an area which has greatly impacted our lives.
Steve Bair, the Backcountry, Wilderness and Trails Manager for the park has given the cleanup the go ahead and would like to sign up the clean-up participants on-site as Park volunteers so volunteer hours and contributing personnel can be credited.
We look forward to the field trip, as well as the clean up and hope to see you all there!

(Come on out!)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Fall & Falls

Fall & Falls

with Evergreen Enterprises

Oct 14, 2006

Hikers enjoyed a stunning fall day on the Jones Run loop, watching the leaves and water fall over four cascades. Days like these leave one wanting to linger longer next to a falls, but as the leaves twirl down it seems the temperature follows and you realize the summer is gone.

A late bloomer enjoys the view.

Jones fall color

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Who Better Than Americorp?

Who Better than Americorp?

Sept 17 – 19 2006

After a year of service, a fire fighting a team of 11 Americorp volunteers from Delaware deserved a relaxing retreat in beautiful Shenandoah National Park. We sent them backwards off a hundred foot cliff, they loved it! Their evening rappel was followed by a day in Whiteoak Canyon. Activities included hiking, swimming and an impromptu service project that removed a large tree from the middle of a natural waterslide. The final morning was spent on top of Hawksbill watching the sunrise over Old Rag. Congrats Grads!

More than a view

More than a view

Aug 16, 2006

Hikers started with a trek to the top of Shenandoah, at 4049 ft they topped out Hawksbill aiming to finish at Skyland. The scheduled day-hike turned out to be so much more when participants spotted two bear and numerous turkeys. Trekkers decided not to stop a good thing and hiked right on past the stopping point to the second highest point in SNP, Stony Man Mountain (4011ft). Everyone went to bed tired like they wanted to.

Stick Em Up!

Stick Em Up!

And grab that rock.
Aug 14 – 16, 2006

Over 100 youths from Frederick Co, Va participated in the Frederick County Sheriffs camp held at Camp Rock Enon, Va. For three days SMG staff led rock climbing and rappelling on the 70 foot cliffs. A good time was had by all.

"Hey, Hey, Johnny boy, the battle call..."

"Hey, Hey, Johnny boy, the battle call,
united we stand, divided we fall!" -Dropkick Murphys
Aug 5 - 11, 2006
A group of boys from Frederick, Md got together for a week of adventure with SMG staff. From climbing and rappelling, to mountain tops and mountain waterslides, it was a week of incredible ups and downs. The week culminated as the group sat alone on top of Old Rag Mountain in a dense fog. All of the sudden the clouds rolled over the summit to reveal an infinity of valley with more waves of fog on the way! The group sat in awe as clouds rushed past and an acrobatic raven displayed his tricks.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Voith Family Hike

Voith Family Hike

August 8, 2006

Guides enjoyed a fantastic dinner in Shenandoah thanks to the Voith's before arising early for a hike in Whiteoak Canyon. The trip left before sunrise at 5:15 am from Skyland lodge and returned early. The very fit family packed a lot into a day and we were happy to help.

Surviving the Heat

Surviving the Heat
July 31 - Aug 2, 2006

Kayaks await while a water fight challenge engulfs campers.

Frederick area youth spent three days in team competition and beating the heat 1,500 feet high on Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains. They stayed cool in the mountain streams, ponds, kayaking Cunningham Lake, and camping at an environmental education center. Competitions were modeled after TV's Survivor and enjoyed by all. The food was good, the friendships great, and the competition fierce.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Moving Mountains

Moving Mountains

July 22 - 28, 2006

Nine girls from Frederick, county schools (Md) met each other for a week of extraordinary firsts! The trip started with an introduction to rock-climbing, rappelling, and swimming in the mountain stream. The first campfire and night out were followed by a day of canoeing, swimming and watching Great Blue Herons and Eagles! The next five days were spent bonding in and with the wilderness, learning backcountry ethics, and front country life lessons. The group refreshed themselves in Shenandoah National Park's brook waterslides and holes as they backpacked up three of its highest peaks! Many animals crossed paths with the girls including, a beautiful two-tone rattlesnake, deer, squirrels, chipmunks, turkey, and four black bear! A once in a lifetime view occurred on the summit of Old Rag mountain as the girls watched a yearling bear walk down and across a very exposed section of rock before climbing over a boulder and disappearing in the brush. Amazing!

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