25 June 2018 Tagged: hiking

I spent this past weekend backpacking north from Front Royal. Prior to my arrival, northern Virginia received 38 hours of heavy rain and it didn’t stop just cuz I showed up. Getting there was a bit hairy. The roads had 10 to 20cm of water flowing across them in dozens of places. I mean, it was great, they had signs to warn you "ROAD MAY FLOOD" every mile or so.

It rained through the night, but stopped before dawn. We decided to save breakfast for later and hit the trail early, munching on some snacks. After a couple hours we came to a camp site with a water source and stopped to have our meal.

There we met two super happy hikers wearing clothes that were comical either by design or by irony. I enjoyed my oatmeal and hot coffee to sounds of hysterical laughter and coughing as these jokers got baked. They were actually quite funny, and to their credit, Ren and Stimpy found my jokes hilarious.

I stepped away for a minute to take a piss and this little guy popped up right in front of my face:

Little Orange Beetle
Figure 1. Little Beetle Wearing Orange Turtle Neck

We parted ways with Stimpson et al. and hiked the rest of the morning up to a peak that was covered in trees and gave us no view. There was, however, an odd wooden bench, randomly awaiting us at the top.

Summit Bench
Figure 2. Real Man, Carrot Top and Legs recline on an unexpected bench

This little guy came to get a load of me:

Orange Spider
Figure 3. A Little Spider "Sniffing" Around

The afternoon was all downpour as we climbed down into and back out of the near-flooded Ashby Gap. We then made our way up to Dick’s Dome. The rain quit right before we stopped to make camp and the sun actually peeked through. There were golden rays lighting up the fog over the creek and I thought I might get to capture a nice scene after all. But the moment passed before I could get the camera. This is what the view from camp looked like without the golden rays.

Tiny Mountain Creek at Flood
Figure 4. No Golden Rays in the Air, No Glowing Flames in the Fire Pit

The next day was rain free. We stopped for lunch at Hollow Rod Shelter. Evidently we were hiking the western edge of the forward operating base of the Gray Ghost, confederate col. Mosby.

Sign commemorating J. S. Mosby
Figure 5. One of many signs in Virginia commemorating J. S. Mosby

This section of the hike involved a sequence of steep ascents and descents in quick succession known as 'the roller coaster'. At the top of each peak was an amazing view. At least I told myself there was, using my mind’s eye, because there were so many trees that you couldn’t see a damn thing with your actual eyes.

So…​ here’s a creek:

A Creek Shaped Like an 'S'
Figure 6. A Creek Shaped Like an 'S'

And a rock formation:

A Small Rock Formation
Figure 7. It’s rocky here, good luck finding a spot for your tent.

Rock on.


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