Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spring Schmorgisbord

It's spring! Which means all kinds of craziness, including the weather. A couple days ago we received a few inches of snow here in the mountains and atop Mary's Rock many of the budding trees were covered in ice!

For the sixth year now Shenandoah Mountain Guides has been involved with the National Park Services Eastern High Angle Technical Rescue course (now BTR-E). At first we were students but for the past few years we have helped teach as part of the instructor cadre. This year Andy, Jeremy, and I(Chad) had the honor of being involved as lead instructors of our teams. Although this year was the largest student class to date, as usual, it was a safe and highly successful year!
One of our training venues the High Point state monument, as seen from the outside above, and inside below.
The kind of rangers you want coming to the rescue! Blue team, complete with a Turkey feather (below).
Below are a few pics from the Spring Smorgasbord, starting with a Sunfish.

Wild Azaleas blooming through the snow.
Man, the mountains and the dog, life is good!
Cool days, canoes and cormorants (birds on the rocks). Life is still good.
Boys on the summit with a Shenandoah valley fires' smoke beyond.
Canada goose eggs on the riverside. What a nice warm nest they make.
Dad enjoys a break below the waterfall while his son enjoys the view through the eyeglass.
Making sure the dog stays warm and the hot dogs get cooked later!
Wild Ginger blooming in a tree. The small purple flower grows right on the dirt and can be seen if you zoom in.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Butterflys and BTR-E

The beautiful Luna moth is one of the largest of North America's moths and although common is not seen very often.  They are more active at night and only have an adult life span of one week. Being able to capture one of them on a Dogwood in bloom is quite possibly the prettiest picture I've ever taken.

When I first saw these two butterflies I was sure one was a Tiger Swallowtail and the other a Black Swallowtail and that there was a multi-species relationship going on.  But after extensive research I learned that female Tiger Swallowtails "may be either yellow or black, making them dimorphic. The yellow morph is similar to the male, while the dark morph is almost completely black." It is actually a picture of two Tiger Swallowtails. Wow, bet you never thought you would learn that today!

A Zebra Swallowtail on a Garlic Mustard leaf.

My, what nice antenna you have, Spring Azure.

These guys are happy to be alive.  But just one picture of BTR-E (Basic Technical Rescue - East) for now cause I am only able to update with my cell phone pictures today. More will be forthcoming.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Missing the Spring

"Things that hurt, instruct" -Benjamin Franklin

The Old Rag Mountain Stewards are taking the spring off and I will truly miss the time spent with the volunteers and the friendly interactions with the other mountain users. Be careful up there, response can be painfully slow, hopefully the Stewards will be back to speeding things along in the fall.

After a great Steward get together and camp out last Saturday some of the Stewards took advantage of the free Sunday with hiking and climbing around the Maryland Heights area!

An Easter cross some hikers must have posted on top of Old Rag sometime over the weekend or Monday (when I saw it).

Redbud over a waterfall, what a beautiful time of year.
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