Ramsey’s Draft Wilderness - July 1, 2017

submitted by Barbara Martin

     Hike leader Barbara Martin was joined by ten fearless hikers to brave Ramsey's Draft Wilderness.  Andre Meyer, John Brandt, Nancy Handley, David Crowe, Claire Cline, Marian Styles, John Shannon, Dennis Templeton, Andrea Collins and Michael Seth started from Mountain House parking area to hike a loop up the Ramseys Draft Trail to Jerry's Run Trail, south on the Shenandoah Mountain Trail and back to our cars on the Road Hollow Trail.  At the first of five stream crossings we lost the trail, but with the help of John Shannon with his GPS we found the trail and successfully forded the next four stream crossings to find Jerry's Run Trail.  Vegetation including brambles and nettles were plenty, but so were wild flowers and a sense of adventure found only on an unblazed trail in a wilderness area.  With clippers in hand we found our way along the beautiful Jerry's Run trail to our lunch spot at the old Sexton Cabin.  The clearing was most welcome after the abundance of vegetation along the trail.  After lunch we once again lost the trail, only to find it again with the help of John Shannon's GPS and shortly after reached the beautiful Shenandoah Mountain Trail.  We followed this for a mile or so reaching the Road Hollow Trail and back to our cars.  We were blessed with a beautiful day, blue skies and escaped the forecast of afternoon thunderstorms.  Who could ask for more?

Browns Hollow-Emerald Pond-Bird Knob Loop, Massanutten - June 27, 2017

submitted by Michael Seth

     Lori and Darrell Doughty met hike leader Michael Seth at the former Massanutten Visitor’s Center on 211.  Barbara Martin arrive a bit late just after the three had left the parking lot so missed the hike. The weather was near perfect, sunny temperatures in the 70s with gentle breezes and very little humidity.  We hiked at a fairly brisk pace starting at 9:40 and finishing the 12 mile hike a little after 3:00.  We took a brief look at Emerald Pond which really was emerald-colored. We didn’t jump in as planned partly because the weather was not.  We skipped the sunny path with the giant anthills and hiked along the cliffs. Exceptionally clear air gave us great views to the West from Big Schloss to the north to Elliot Knob in the south, and distant peaks in West Virginia.


Rockfish Gap Trail Maintenance - June 24, 2017

reported by John Shannon, pictures by Jeanne Siler

A wet spring helped prolific growth along the chapter’s section of Appalachian Trail between Rockfish and McCormick Gaps, so it was great to have five
CJ Woodburn

John Shannon ready  to use a weedeater

David Crowe and Marian Styles
clipping small branches and
transporting fuel for weedeaters

Dave Borzich with weedeater
people join me to cut back summer growth. Most people went to the Crozet Tunnel walk in the morning, so we started later than normal. At the entrance station, the friendly rangers waved us in when we said we had come for trail maintenance. We collected two weedeaters from the toolbox, one for me and one for Dave Borzich. 

At our McCormick Gap starting point, we saw District Manager Don White, who was meeting a new overseer. The steep ascent to the AT required little clearing because Marian Styles had cleared much of the growth two weeks earlier with a swing blade while I pulled some garlic mustard.

While Dave and I fired up the string trimmers and set forth, Jeanne Siler, CJ Woodburn, David Crowe, and Marian followed with clippers. They cut shrubs too thick for a string trimmer as well as the many small branches growing into the trail corridor.

We stopped for a lunch at a rocky outcropping, where we had a partial view of Waynesboro. After our break and a bit more clearing, we walked back to our cars.

During our outing we met several backpackers, some of whom were heading to Mt. Katahadin. Most of them thanked us for keeping the AT in good shape for hiking.


Blue Ridge Tunnel Hike/Tour followed by Trail Maintenance at McCormick Gap - June 24, 2017

The Blue Ridge Tunnel

Bob Dombrowe (leading tour from Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation), Suzanne Young, Dave Borszich, Nancy Handly, Lindsay Brown, CJ Woodburn,  David Crowe , Alan White, Marian Styles, John Shannon

Marit Anderson (PATC hike leader) in pink

June 24 - Ten hikers converged for the Blue Ridge Tunnel hike and tour starting at the trailhead on Afton Depot Lane on Afton Mountain.  Bob Dombrowe, from the Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation, led an excellent 1.5 hour tour of the new trail and Blue Ridge Tunnel from the east side.  We hiked 2/3 of a mile along the railroad tracks and then 700 feet into the tunnel with the same distance back to the parking lot.  It was fascinating to hear the feats of Claude Crozet as chief engineer of the project and the many men who helped build the tunnel with limited tools and equipment in the mid 1800's.  It took eight years to build and was a functioning tunnel from 1858 to 1944. The Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation and Nelson County government have been working to restore the area and have created a safe fence lining the gravel walkway to the tunnel. The project will continue with additional phases to add crushed rock to the path and hopefully someday have a trail through the tunnel that hikers, cyclists, and families can enjoy.  We wish them well on their project and were happy to add monetary contributions for the tour.  Alan White, who joined us from a hiking club in Waynesboro, hopes to plan a similar tour for his group in the near future.  If you did not get to be a part of this hike and would like an opportunity to take the tour - contact Marit Anderson and she will keep you posted.  Thanks Bob Dombrowe for a fascinating morning!
John Shannon led a group of volunteers to do trail maintenance on the Appalachian Trail at McCormick Gap after the tunnel expedition.  Much gratitude to Marian Styles, CJ Woodburne, David Crowe, and Dave Borszich to trim vegetation and maintain the trails on the AT.

 submitted by Marit Anderson


PATC Charlottesville Chapter picnic at Dunlodge - June 11, 2017

submitted by Jeanne Nicholson    

     About 40 PATC Charlottesville hikers and friends of hikers gathered at Dunlodge cabin Sunday afternoon for a potluck feast. Judging from the prodigious outlay, these are hikers who can both eat AND cook. 

     In addition to sharing salads, soup and scones, they swapped vacation plans and recent hiking adventures before settling out doors (of course) for updates on PATC administrative issues and concerns as outlined by Rush Williamson, vice president of operations. Also making the trip south to central Virginia was Emeline Otey, supervisor of marketing, who brought a wide selection of PATC publications for purchase, including the just published 2017 edition of Hikes in the Washington  Region. Former president and current PATC archivist Tom Johnson and Mel Merritt, current supervisor of cabins operations, were also in attendance from the DC area.  District Manager Don White thoughtfully acknowledged John Shannon's many years of being the president of the Charlottesville Chapter and keeping it together.

     The Charlottesville chapter of the PATC will celebrate the 90th anniversary of the founding of PATC at its September meeting. Expect cake on the dessert menu!