Seneca Creek Trail - Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area, WVa - August 20, 2016

submitted by Barbara Martin

     Southern Shenandoah Valley and Charlottesville chapter enjoyed a wonderful weekend of camping and hiking at Spruce Knob Recreation Area.  Ten hikers, including Pete and Bev Fink, Marit Anderson David Crowe, Susanna Williams, Jeanne Siler, Iva Gillette and C J Woodburn hiked out and back, eleven miles to the beautiful Seneca Creek Falls.  Hike leaders Mike Smith of SSV Chapter and Barbara Martin of the Charlottesville Chapter co-led the hike.  We were blessed with great weather.  We stopped along the way to see Judy Springs.  Mike Smith was a wealth of information about butterflies, plants and birds.  We had lunch at the gorgeous Seneca Creek Falls.

Lower Nicholson Hollow to Corbin Cabin Retrace - August 13, 2016

submitted by Gabriel Garretson

     Ten hikers joined hike leader, Gabriel Garretson on a very warm August day to hike up the Lower Nicholson Hollow Trail from the Old Rag parking lot to Corbin Cabin.  Other hikers included Anne Colgate, Art Bykonen, Bev and Pete Fink, CJ Woodburn, Claire Cline, Gopal Midhe, Iva Gillet, Maynard Davis, and Patrick Cory.  The overall hike was ten miles long with 14oo feet of ascent. Most of the hike was along the beautiful Hughes River and included eight major stream crossings.  Due to the heat we hiked at a slower pace with frequent stops to cool with river water. The hike also included a visit inside historic Corbin Cabin and a swim in the Hughes River on the return. Despite the heat, everyone enjoyed the hike and several requested a repeat hike in cooler weather this fall.  Claire Cline did an excellent job as our hike photographer.

Rocky Mountain /Brown Mountain Loop - August 6, 2016

submitted by Dan Ralston

     Dan Ralston and Gabriel Garretson led nine very courageous hikers on a hike described by one of the group as: “Hikes that are defined by the weather are the most talked about later for years to come. This will be one of them for me!” Those on the hike included Jeanne Densmore Ralston, Kelly O’Rourke, Charles Staples, Brad Young, Pete Fink, David Crowe, Claire Cline, Patrick Cory and Keith Cain.  This hike included it all.  Perfect sunny weather, beautiful vistas and green views of new growth in a forest of burned trees, multiple stream crossings, then lightening and pouring rain and a couple of zillion people eating bugs that were resistant to Off and to Deet.  All eleven of us will not soon forget this ‘memorable’ 10 mile hike through the burned forest.

Saint Mary’s Wilderness Fall's Hike - July 16, 2016

submitted by Gabriel Garretson and Iva Gillet
       Sixteen hikers and two dogs joined hike leaders Iva Gillet and Gabriel Garretson on a
warm July day to enjoy an incredible water hike in the Saint Mary’s Wilderness area of
the George Washington National Forest. Birthday girl, Jeanne Siler, wore her birthday
tiara proudly as her subjects followed. They included Brad Young, Pete & Bev Fink,
David Crowe, Susan Quinn, Lisa Lampe and Max the hiking dog, Neil McKinney, Nancy Handley, Ginny Barber, Anne Colgate, Rich Bard, Lisa Auwarter, and Bill Holman, in his
preferred place- sweep.
     The overall hike was 5.5 miles long with only 500 feet of ascent but the hike was still
strenuous due to challenging trail conditions. While the overall trail condition was
considerably better at the beginning, but due to the fire this past spring the trail
disappeared and we had look for pink ribbons on the trees to continue the journey up-
stream. The swimming hole at Saint Mary’s Falls was exceptional. Iva’s granddog,
Remi, jumped into the water to “rescue” several people from another group who jumped
off the cliff into the water and she thought needed assistance. Our group spread out
along the Falls and enjoyed lunch, took lots of photos, dived into the water, and savored
cookies to help us retrace our steps.
     Post hike refreshments included a visit to Edelweiss German Restaurant for cold beer
and other snacks. A little storm blew through briefly while we were under the cover of a
porch which made us glad that we were not the other score of folks hiking to the Falls as
we were leaving. We have never seen so many cars lining the road…a popular
wilderness area now.



Appalachian Trail maintenance - August 6

submitted by John Shannon

     A month earlier, I cleared grassy growth north of Rockfish Gap so it was time to clip the small branches that grow into the trail corridor. James McAdams joined me. As we started, I noticed that numerous water run offs that Tony Alimenti and I cleared and improved in spring looked good, with little debris buildup, so perhaps we are getting close to self cleaning drains. Along the trail, there was less growth than I expected. We found since the last trip that a rotted tree fell across the trail. With gloved hands, we pulled away most of the tree in the trail section. We reached the spot where last month's clearing ended, and a large tree had fallen over the trail. Much of it had rotted away but because it was a large tree, there was still considerable hard wood, in a shell small enough for our saws. We rolled the cut section of the tree to the side of the trail to make a seat, and discourage people from using a detour around the tree. We walked a little further north, and as expected the trail was not overgrown.  On our way out, we decided to cut another blowdown which our saws were just large enough to cut. After we cut it through, James was able to move the tree off the trail. By now, the forecast hot conditions had arrived so we were glad we had completed a successful day. We saw fewer people than on earlier trips on this section.
The first of two cuts of the shell of this tree
James McAdams with the large hollow tree we cut


Appalachian Trail maintenance - July 30

submitted by John Shannon

     Hot weather deterred us from doing any clearing the week before, but with cooler weather, we planned more clearing of summer growth on the Chapter's section heading south from McCormick Gap. At the entrance station, we ordered cool weather and hold the rain until 3 p.m. Michael Seth and Marian Styles carried fuel and clipped small branches that were starting to grow into the trail corridor, while John Shannon operated the string trimmer. After the first 10 yards, there was no heavy growth but trimming made the trail feel more open, and we hoped we slowed growth of poison ivy on the trail. We sent over a mile before turning around under still relatively cool conditions. A number of people thanked us for our work. After cleaning and returning the trimmer to its neat and clean toolbox, we headed home after 3 p.m. and encountered heavy rain and were glad we had requested that it be held until them. John was relieved that despite sending poison ivy flying with the string trimmer, he did not get a rash.