Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Life is Good

Caught up with this relaxed reptile on the mountain the other day. The three legged amputee-tail skink sat soaking up some rays while we got a good look at him. Maybe he was so mellow because of the awe-inspiring views, or perhaps after a near death brush with the talons of a raven he learned to sit back and truly enjoy life. Then again, he was probably just slow.

Life in the mountains is good. You know it's the good life when the strong wind hits your back and you begin to lower off a hundred foot cliff. It makes you feel alive, and then you know you're alive. The wind changes directions, hitting you square in the face. You begin to hear the thunder across the valley. The electric sky has become nearly black. You're running, and you can see, hear, smell, and feel the tornado-spawning storm. You round the final, still dry corner of the trail. The ride pulls up, doors and sky open simultaneously, but before the drenching begins you're in.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Baby Steps

5 - 22 - 08

As with most hikes its not the grand vistas or tumbling waters that prove the most memorable, but rather the unexpected along the way.

After we watched the momma Doe lick this newborn clean we think it may have gotten a little confused. Not sure exactly where in the world it belonged the fawn wobble stepped towards our attentive eyes. Maybe realizing the mistake it hesitated nearly close enough for us to reach out and touch. Stumbling sideways and turning around the little guy realized momma was waiting in the other direction and the opening performance continued its unbalanced show on elsewhere in the woods.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

After School

I don't know if this falls under Teamlink or Shenandoah Mountain Guides but I figure it's worth putting up the picture.  Every year at the end of the school year we try to do something special for the kids in the after school programs.  This year straight rock climbing didn't seem like enough so we added the cargo net.  So you're halfway up a vertical rock face and you have to leap to a free hanging cargo net; would you be having a ball?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mountain Stewards

May 10 - 11, 08

The Old Rag Mountain Stewardship program kicked off this cold rainy weekend and we're looking ahead toward an exceptional program!

: the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially : the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

The SMG staff have been honored and entrusted in working with the park service on the initiation of this program. We will do our best in the careful stewardship of this precious resource.

Between helping folks with directions, litter removal and several sweeps of the mountain we had to take a few moments to play around on some thin Old Rag slab climbs.

When viewing these pictures you may want to make note of the lack of ropes, the shoes, and the direction of gravity pulling on shirts.

Attending to litter

(and other LNT topics)
May 4 - 9
While the rest of the SMG staff did real work last week, I (Chad) spent the time being trained in the ethics of Leave No Trace. My Master Educator course was held on the 17,000 acre BSA camp Powhatan in Southern Va. The three knowledgeable instructors included Co-founder of LNT Jeff Marion. The course was excellent. With this class I become the final SMG full time staff to be a LNT Master.

One of the many interesting things I learned over the week was that in one study held in Great Smoky Mountains National Park no Lady Slipper Orchids like these pictured above could be found within fifty feet of the trails due to user impact. Props to SNP users, the above were observed just off trail on Old Rag Mountain Saturday 5-10-08

Litter Attending

Had to put up this picture of SMG guide Matt hanging off the side of the cliff litter attending at the tech rescue training. Nice job Matt
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