Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Where the Sidewalk Ends

"There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind."

-Shel Silverstein

There is a place within us where we have never been. It's a place where the sidewalk ends, and instead we find excitement and new experience. As adventurers we might find this place on a trail we've never hiked, a longer run than we have ever before completed or by simply losing ourselves in a sunset. Around here we spend a lot of time looking for, dwelling in, and sharing this place with others. And that only leaves us looking for more! So here's a few recent pics of those things that left me excited to share, and as always, looking for more.

Watching a four foot tall Great Blue Heron will leave any animal lover in awe!

The beauty of a late winter snow on an early spring bloomer.

Sharing a local cave with friends who have never experienced one is an unforgettable time, especially when you turn the lights out!

An old Shenandoah home site and its surrounding artifacts can be a journey into the past.

The above picture was taken this winter and captured what was likely to be Old Rag Mountains' most recent first ascent. The climb is at an unlikely area on a small cliff that is not in any of the published info on the mountain (which of course doesn't mean it hasn't been climbed). First ascent or not it was a new and exciting climb for us. We found the cliff when we were, you guessed it, exploring.

Watching a Great Blue uncoil and strike for a fish is a lightning fast demonstration of an exceptional hunter at work.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

A Lackluster Winter

What to do with a lackluster winter? A winter where ice climbing is non existent and skiing seems contrived (not that we don't still go). It's been a winter where we've seen almost no ice on the Shenandoah river (above), and most of our snows have been melted by noon.
But the Skyline drive has been open! Our access to the parks 500 miles of trails has been nearly unencumbered. Sunny skys and fallen leaves have made for great hiking, running, climbing and exploring opportunities. So don't let the lack of glistening snow get you down, get out there and get after it.

There's bouldering to be done! These temps are perfect for friction top-outs and first ascents.

It's easy to see a lot of things you wouldn't when the leaves are in, like this grapevine on Compton Peak.

So there's been a little ice, but not much to sink your ice axes into.

If you rush out early enough you might still get to see some cool snow formations.

Ice on a fungus.

So go explore, it's the perfect time of year!
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