McCormick Gap, March 29, 2014

reported by John Shannon 
Slough and berm removal, with soft soil
A forecast of rain and low temperatures may have led some people to plan housework instead of trail work. I expected that if anyone showed up, they would choose a short hike. At 9, there was no real rain, just mist, and comfortable temperatures and Sunny was willing to have an adventure, so we headed to the park, where found the snow had gone. After asking an entrance ranger to hold the rain, we started up the Appalachian Trail at McCormick Gap. As planned, we raked leaves and some earth out of drains, and made some adjustments to the new runoffs and regraded sections of trail. The soft earth made moving earth easy,and also helped when pulling up some invasive multiflora rose, and garlic mustard. There was one small, easily removed tree across the trail. After reaching the top of the initial climb, we did a little slough and berm removal to keep the trail adequately wide and improve drainage. 
While eating lunch, rain started so we returned to the car to finish lunch, after putting muddy tools and boots in bags. Then we discovered  why there were so many wheel marks in the area, the ground was very soft, and did not provide enough traction to drive out. After some messy attempts to get out, I called for a tow truck which arrived relatively quickly. As the operator said, pulling the car on to the road did not take long, but filling out forms took time. We found little puddles were helpful in getting earth off the tools before returning them to the tool box. It was a little adventure, the first of its type at the spot in
Garlic mustard be gone
25 years.

Bayly the Hiking Dog

      The Charlottesville Chapter would like to extend its condolences to Leon Gorman on the passing of one of our favorite hikers for the last 7 years. Bayly was a pleasure for us all and we will miss her sweet, enthusiastic face. We will all remember Leon feeding her Boar's Head meat for lunches on our hikes and her happily wagging tail. We all had many happy trail miles with Bayly. A note from Leon:

     "Bayly's first hike with PATC was in 2007.  I had only rescued her a few days earlier and had not yet decided on a name for her.  The hikers on that first Saturday morning helped me settle on the name of Bayly.  She very much enjoyed her Saturdays with PATC.  Bayly hiked Nicholson Hollow, Turk Mtn, Bear Church Rock, Rip Rap, Three Ridges and numerous others.  Her last full hike was a hike led by Marit Gay at White Rock Falls.  The back of her spine gave in that day, Brian Muszynski and Andy Willgruber took turns carrying her to the car (I was in an orthopedic boot and could not do so).  Since then I had her on several medicines and she did relatively fine. But three weeks ago we discovered a fast growing cancer and there was no alternative.
      I was always so thankful that PATC opened up their arms so warmly to Bayly.  I, and I know Bayly, will be eternally grateful for that and all the fun times.  Many thanks.  Leon"


Fridley Gap - March 15, 2014

     At Swift Run Gap hike leader Mike Seth met the Kelly O’Rouke  who rounded up Jeanne Densore, Dan Ralston, Seviere Freny, Susanne Williams, John Brandt, and Leon Gorman.  They then drove to the Fridley Gap Trailhead on Cub Run Road in Massanutten where they Mike Smith and Dave Borszich were waiting. The ten hikers then made the first of the three ascents.  The weather cooperated, clear skies, temperatures in the 50s climbing to around 60.  It was a little windy but most of the hike was out of the wind.  Even though a winter storm was coming the next day there were many signs of spring.  At the trailhead we were entertained by a chorus of tree frogs.  Later Mike Smith spotted the season’s first butterfly an angle wing. 

     We ate lunch at our high point, on the top of Grubbs Knob we from rock cliffs were had a great panoramic view to the west.  We descended Fourth Mountain and everyone managed to cross Fridley Run with dry feet.  We paused a bit and while the hike leader was lecturing on the history of China, John Brandt kept trying to interrupt to explain that there was an unattended camp fire.  John, Mike Smith, and Dave re-crossed the stream and put the smoldering campfire out- an important deed since the fire level in the forest was on high.  Dan and Jeanne continued on alone not realizing that they had passed the rest of the group preoccupied with the campfire, climb up Third Mountain when they didn’t see anyone they backtrack and went a different route and then decided to go back up Third Mountain for the second time where time they found the rest of the us making their way up the steep climb.  Thus so we finished with the group intact.

     Afterward we drove to Elkton to see one of the Remarkable Trees of Virginia, an ancient burr oak - it took five of us to wrap our arms around it.  After a brief stop at Dairy Queen we all headed home.

UVa Students Put In New Trails At Mutton Hollow

Hey PATC community!

Liz, Erik, Katie, Tyler, John, Kim, Sarah, Brennan, Ben, and Annie
      We are a group of 10 students from the University of Virginia who are members of a student-led organization called Alternative Spring Break (ASB). Each year ASB organizes a variety of service-learning trips all around the world for UVa students to participate in over spring break in March. It provides a fun and meaningful alternative to other traditional spring break plans college students have. We are committed to serving others while also encouraging students to reflect upon the experience with hopes of broadening their perspective. 

Early morning at Mutton Top Cabin
     This year we had the opportunity to work with a branch of your organization! We collaborated with Bill Holman, the District Manager of the Mutton Hollow Trails and spent from March 9th to the 15th living in the Mutton Top cabin close to Charlottesville. During our stay, we cleared two new hiking trails near Mattie's Run in addition to performing other general maintenance throughout the area. It was an incredible experience and we all had a wonderful time exploring the PATC property and enjoying the outdoors for the week. We also picked up some new skills along the way like becoming pros at splitting wood, hauling water jugs, working a wood stove, and avoiding getting sprayed by a family of skunks. We are all coming away from this experience with some great memories and friendships and want to thank Bill for being a great resource and guide throughout our stay!

Before clearing trail

After clearing trail



Mattie's Run

     We are very appreciative of all the work PATC puts in throughout the year to maintain these areas so that the cabins and trails can remain usable for the public. We were excited to be apart of your mission by expanding the amount of trails and hope that we can continue to work with you all in the future! Many of us are looking forward to becoming members of the PATC after this experience and plan to visit the area more often. 

     Hopefully we will get to visit again soon!


Liz Holohan and Ben Campbell (ASB Shenandoah Site Leaders 2014)

Happy campers!



Wintergreen Hike - March 22, 2014

 On the Old Appalachian Trail with Brad, Kelly, Grace in front; Leon, David, Bev, Dave, Michael on second row; Iva, Tom, John, Pete, Susanna, Mike on last row

     March 22 was a window of time between a snow storm earlier in the week and another coming.  Fifteen eager hikers were happy to get out on the trails of Wintergreen Resort to enjoy some of the views and get a cardiovascular workout.  Just two days earlier the trails were filled with snow, but on this day temperatures were fairly warm.  Sun filtered by clouds made for some good hiking.

     Marit Gay was the hike leader and she was joined by Brad Young, Kelly O'Rourke, Grace N., Leon Gorman, David Crowe, Bev & Pete Fink, Dave Borsch, Michael Seth, Iva Gillet, Tom Schultz, John Brandt, Susanna Williams, and Mike Smith. After dropping off some cars at the Blue Ridge Overlook the group shuttled the remainder cars as they descended down Laurel Springs Drive. The hikers began their trek on the Upper Shamokin Gorge Trail as Stoney Creek gurgled in the near distance. We made our way up to connect to the Old Appalachian Trail.  The path skirted west of the mountain allowing us to see views of the Shenandoah Valley, Torry Ridge, and Sherando Lake Recreation Area. Steady uphill climbing with steeper and rockier sections made the day fairly strenuous, although our overall mileage was only shy of four miles at lunch and a total of 7+ miles for the day.  We stopped for a snack on an outcrop of rocks and continued to Blue Ridge Overlook for lunch.  The expansive vista of the Priest and Three Ridges was admired by all.  Homemade cookies, fudge and assortment of Bold Rock Cider and Fat Tire Ales topped off the meal. 

     After lunch four hikers left to return to Charlottesville, but the remainder went on to hike another 3.2 miles on the Devils Knob Trail and Pond Hollow Trail.  Marit skipped out a little early to go to work at Wintergarden Spa, but Kelly and Iva were happy to take the leadership roles. Another day of hiking before the next pending snow.  Winter is not over yet!

Blue Ridge Overlook - our lunch spot



Thursday, March 20, 6:45 PM

Please come to our first chapter meeting at Dunlodge. John Hedrick, PATC president, Dick Hostelley, VP of Volunteerisn, and Steve Bair, South District Blue Blaze District Manager, will all be in attendance to kick off our new hike season.

Come welcome them with your questions about the club.

Dessert and coffee will be provided.

Looking forward to seeing you there! Please come help us plan the activities for this upcoming year. ALL are welcome.

Walnut Creek - March 8, 2014

We dedicate this hike to Leon’s friend the beautiful yellow Labrador Bayly, who always had a wag of the tail and a friendly hello for fellow hikers…….we will miss you!

   The weather was absolutely perfect! There was an option for this hike, 6.5 or 9 miles. We all did the first 6.5 together then some went home while others continued. There were 12 who set out for a Charlottesville favorite hike: Leon Gorman, David Crowe, Susanna William, Lindsay Brown, Andy Willgruber, Briana Taylor, Jeanne Densmore, Marti Snell, CJ Woodburn, Dave Borszich, and John Brandt. We started at the main parking lot and wound around through the woods surrounding the lake at the nicely maintained Walnut Creek Park. We had a couple steam crossings, but we hiking veterans had no problem with the mud or water. If you have not been here in a while, the county just added a nice bridge that crosses the main creek, a replacement for the single board bridge that serviced bikers/hikers the last couple years. The trails are mostly flat with a few ups and downs that make it fun and interesting. We didn’t see many people, but enjoyed the cute little 4 month old German short hair pointer puppy, who wanted to tag along with us instead of running along the bike with his daddy.

We stopped about 11am for a snack, and had our main lunch back at the picnic tables overlooking the water. After lunch, Lindsay, Briana, Andy and Dave left while the rest of us went another 2.8 miles around the other side of the lake.

There were a couple people who had never been to the park, and I think a good time was had by all.



Glenmore-Keswick perimeter, March 1, 2014

This hike was 7.6 miles, led by “officially” first time hike leader Kelly O’Rourke (no one was scared though ) and yes, she is well trained and follows very large footsteps and high standards set before her by the high steppn’ Charlottesville chapter hike leaders, and thereby passed out some much appreciated Hershey chocolate candy bars at lunch!

Ok- about the hike/attendees:

It was a chilly 28 degrees when we left the high school, but a great time was had by all! Hike participants Brad Young, David Crowe, Sunny Choi, Leon Gorman, Jeanne Densmore, CJ Woodburn, and Charles Staples met/drove to Glenmore and set out from Kelly/Charles house ~ 9:45 to walk the perimeter of Glenmore. The hike started out in the woods along the Rivanna River for ~ half mile and then continued along the river on one side and the golf course on the other. This trail is also the equestrian trail, and though we did not see anyone riding on the trail, we did see a rider jumping in the training ring near the main entrance. There are a lot of twists/turns as the trail winds thru the woods, golf course, and around the outskirts of the development. We had a short lunch break at a remote spot where we didn’t see any houses (yes, there are some places like that!). We saw evidence of a beaver hard at work eating many trees along Carroll creek, but never saw the little critter. The trail goes along the front of the entrance; passes the horses then ducks back into the woods were we had to cross ~ 5 streams. It was a little muddy (as the hike leader had diligently warned it would be!), but luckily we had not had any rain for a while so the water was pretty low and posed no real problem. The trail ends back at the Rivanna, and in ~ .2 miles we were back where we started. Special thanks to Jeanne for volunteering to diligently track the mileage and answer Kelly’s incessant - “how many miles now Jeanne” along the way….and to Brad for finding and carrying out an old Pepsi bottle he found along the stream.

Pictures taken along the Rivanna river and one in front of the golf course stream crossing (when we were were lining up to take the picture Charles mentioned that many of his golf balls were in that stream).

We all agreed that this was a fun, interesting, and mostly flat local hike that gets us done early, but has enough river/woods/stream crossings to make it acceptable as a good alternative for local cold weather hike.