Morgan's Loop, Shamokin Falls and Gorge, Old AT - Wintergreen area, November 21, 2015

Our Gang!
     Twenty one hikers came out to hike the trails at Wintergreen Resort on a cool, clear, crisp day.  About half the group met at AHS in Charlottesville and the rest of the contingent were at the Wintergreen gate house as we arrived slightly late after 10 am.  Nobody was grumpy though, just ready to hike.  We dropped off a few shuttle cars at the Blue Ridge Overlook and drove 2 miles down Laurel Springs Drive to begin the trek at the Morgan's Loop Trail. Hike leader, Marit Anderson, warned the group that although the hike distance was only 4.4 miles, the trails at Wintergreen are steep, rocky, and slow going.  The group kept a steady pace though, enjoying the varied and beautiful scenery along the way.  First we saw the full flowing Upper Shamokin Falls (2 sets) and then continued hiking along Stoney Creek on the red blazed Shamokin Gorge Trail, which is considered a part of the Perimeter Trail.  The trails were created and are maintained by the Nature Foundation at Wintergreen, and are open to the public.  Thank you Nature Foundation.
Becky, Tom, John, David, Michael, and CJ at Upper Shamokin Falls

The group included Nancy Weiss, Carol Wise, David Crowe, CJ Woodburn, Claire Cline, Tom & Ellen Shields, Becky Birnbaum, Michael Seth, Grace Niu, John Brandt, Art Bykonen, Dianne Anderson, Bill Holman, Iva Gillet, Brian Muszynski, Tricia Neumann, Susanna Williams, Kelly O'Rourke, and Charles Staples.
Brian and CJ - don't throw her in!
     We stopped for dark chocolate and snacks along Stoney Creek and then crossed on to the Old Appalachian Trail (predates Wintergreen and relocated once the resort was built).  The Old AT took us to the western rim and allowed for open views of the Shenandoah Valley, Torry Ridge, and Sherando Lake.  Icy spots and rock formations to cross made everyone vigilant of their footing and one of the reasons Wintergreen trails are rated strenuous.  We also kept climbing with an ascent of 1,636 ft as we hiked to our final destination of Devils Knob at 3,800 feet and the Blue Ridge Overlook.  Everyone was famished by then and ready for lunch.  Chocolate chip cookies were also passed around as we admired the southwest orientation looking at the Three Ridges, the Priest, and other peaks.  Shuttle cars took drivers down to the starting point to pick up the remaining cars. Marit had to leave for work at Wintergarden Spa, but Kelly had agreed to take any people interested on an out and back trek to the Founders Overlook via the Devils Knob and White Oak Trails.  Don't think there were any takers though, folks were ready to head home or to other events.  It was a nice way to end the PATC season for Marit as she heads west for the winter.  Come late April or May she will be back though.  Much gratitude to the many wonderful leaders who hike all winter and year round.  They are a great crew!
Tom and the southwest vista

Tom, Ellen, Claire, Art, and Grace are all smiles

Art and Tricia finishing up the Old Appalachian Trail - lunch time!

 submitted by Marit Anderson


Old Rag - November 17, 2015

Iva, Kelly, and Dave take a breather

View from the top of Old Rag

November has brought us some amazing weather!  Five hikers took advantage of the warm, still day to hike Old Rag including Kelly O'Rourke, Dave Borszich, Iva Gillet, Bill Holman, and Marit Anderson (leader).  Unfortunately Lynn Dawson and Grace Nui could not meet as planned.
Midweek hiking allowed us to have the trail almost to ourselves as we ascended via the Ridge Trail.  We loved all the rock scrambles and squeezes, overlooks, and soaring buzzards and hawks.  Bill met us at the summit and we enjoyed our lunch and apple cake together. In the distance we admired Stoney Man and Robertson Mountain.  We crossed on the Saddle Trail and split at the intersection of Weakley Hollow Fire Road (Kelly, Dave, Marit) and Berry Hollow Fire Road (Bill and Iva as they headed north to the PATC banquet in Vienna). The group covered 9.59 miles and 2,464 ft of ascent.  The return along Brokenback Run was especially nice as the stream bed was quite full.  Old Rag is still one of our favourites, so we were happy to climb it before winter sets in.

submitted by Marit Anderson


Rocky Mount - November 7, 2015

submitted by Kelly O'Rourke

     Well, we are not afraid of a little rain here at this hiking club!! No sir, even though it was raining, hike leader Kelly O’Rourke was joined by Michael Seth, Iva Gillet, Bill Holman, Lisa Lampe and Maxwell to hike almost 7 miles with close to 2,000 ft. of elevation gain. It rained all the way to lunch time, then cleared up and we were finally able to see the beautiful views of the valley and surrounding mountains. Due to the wetness, we decided not to do the entire loop, but all got chocolate and a rain check to try this beautiful hike another time.


AT Work Trip Hike Report - October 24, 2015

Reported by Lindsay Brown
     It was a terrific day for working in Shenandoah National Park.  A small but hard working group of four including Andy Willgruber, Hunter and Meghan Cloud joined hike leader Lindsay Brown for a few hours of looping shear work along the Appalachian Trail south of Rip Rap.  We saw many hikers on the trail who all seemed to appreciate our work.  The Park was packed on Saturday as many people were out checking on the autumn leaves.  Hunter and Meghan had to leave around lunch time but Andy and Lindsay had a nice lunch along the trailhead and took time to review the instructions for our Trail Inventory Report.

Spy Rock on Halloween - October 31, 2015

Atop Spy Rock -Claire, Caitlin, Todd, Marit, Dan, Jeanne, James, Rich (back) with Grace, Emerald, Tom, Ellen, Iva (front)

Little Priest in the distance - and we saw many other peaks including the Priest, Three Ridges, the Cardinal, and the Friar with the Peak Finder App

     Halloween is a great day to climb Spy Rock, so 13 hikers did just that meeting hike leader, Marit Anderson, either at Albemarle High School or the trail head at Montebello Fish Hatchery. The clan included Grace Nui, Tom & Ellen Shields, Todd Patrick, Claire Cline, James McAdams, Jeanne Densmore & Dan Ralston, Emerald Young, Caitlin Henning, Rich Bard, Iva Gillet, and Bill Holman. A cool, but clear day, the group climbed the short, but steep out and back trail which measured in at 4.1 miles and 1,263 ft. of ascent. The drive in along Crabtree Creek was full and impressive, and water indeed was along our route at Mill Creek and Louisa Spring Branch. Most of the leaves had fallen, but the view of the top was still beautiful, and a way to capture the autumn colors still remaining. Fortunately it was not too crowded when we reached the summit, so we got to enjoy our lunch, chocolate, and pumpkin chocolate chippers in a relaxing way.  Many photos were taken and sunshine made for many smiles.

Claire making her way to the top- crossing the Appalachian Trail for a brief period

Congrats to the newlyweds - Jeanne and Dan!

Iva and Rich - he just had a birthday!

Happy Halloween with our tricksters - Bill, Iva, and Marit

     After lunch Dan, Jeanne, Tom, and Ellen hiked more miles towards Maintop Mountain and the rest of the group descended down to the parking area with a jaunt to look at the fish at the Montebello State Fish Hatchery.  There were some big trout in those tanks!  A number of hikers went on to Devils Backbone Brewery and the rest car pooled to various locations.  The rest of the night was for trick or treating and other spooky antics.
Tom takes the hard way- Todd opts for slipping down

Rich cruises through Mill Creek

Who is that bunny at Montebello Fish Hatchery?

Hard to see, but there are some doozies in there

submitted by Marit Anderson - Claire Cline provided photos also