Corbin Mountain Hike - June 16, 2018

The Corbin Mountain Hike rescheduled from April 7 (due to inclement weather) was attended by 8 hikers including Marian Styles, Debra Fisher, Marie Moss, John Brandt, Nancy Handley, Jeanne & Dan Ralston, and hike leader, Marit Anderson.  Marian set up car pools from AHS and others arrived from different locations at 10 am at the Old Rag lower parking lot.  The place was packed, but fortunately overflow parking at the nearby neighbors was still available.  Of course, the majority of folks were headed for Old Rag, so our set hike up Nicholson Hollow was relatively empty.  Our path took us into the Shenandoah National Park along the Nicholson Hollow Trail with the lovely Hughes River next to it.  We arrived at Corbin Cabin about 2 hours later and 4 miles in.  Lunch and chocolate was enjoyed by the river...with many of us soaking our feet in the delicious, cool water.  Marian and Debra took the shorter route and backtracked to the parking area to make it an 8 mile trek.  The rest of the group continued on the 11 mile circuit on Indian Run Trail, to the Corbin Mountain Trail, then along the Old Rag Fire Road, following Corbin Hollow Trail along Brokenback Run, and finally back down the Weakley Hollow Fire Road.  At this point we got to join the throngs of Old Rag returnees and watch the Forest Service Safety personnel zoom up towards the Old Rag area.  We never found out if there were injured hikers, but we were hoping it was not anything serious. The temperature at the cars was in the mid 80's, so we were grateful the Corbin Mountain Hike had been in the shade, with 5 water crossings and gurgling water sounds a good part of the day.  The elevation gain for the day was 2,370 ft., much of the incline on the Indian Run Trail.  A few of the group members stopped by Sharp Rock Winery for wine tastings on the way home.  A special thanks to Marian for helping car pools and other logistics.

submitted by Marit Anderson


Shenandoah Mountain Trail - June 9, 2018

Submitted by Jeff Monroe
The hiking group of Marian Styles, Brian Muszynski, John Brandt, Suzanna Williams, Nancy Handley, newcomer Dan Cox, and hike leader Jeff Monroe joined veteran Valley Chapter members Lynn and Malcolm Cameron, and Michael Seth for a nine mile hike south on the Shenandoah Mountain Trail from U.S. 250.  There were few views and no waterfalls along the way, but the group was amazed by the many wildflowers and large fields of ferns under large trees.  This is a part of Shenandoah Mountain that gets much less hiker activity, compared to parts further north in Ramsey’s Draft Wilderness, and the group marveled at the health of the plant communities along the hike, with very few invasives.  Lynn showed off her amazing knowledge of the area by directing the group to a hidden trail that connected the Benson Run Trail back to the Shenandoah Mountain Trail. 
Hastening the return were threats of lightning and rain, but the group escaped any heavy downpours.  On the drive back both vehicles stopped for a motorcyclist who had fallen off of his bike on US 250 near the base of Shenandoah Mountain.  John and Suzanna helped other passing motorists get the bike off of the rider as it had pinned him to the pavement.  The rider claimed to be ok, and all were on their way.

Torry Ridge Trail - June 2, 2018

submitted by Barbara Martin     

On a Saturday morning threatening rain, five intrepid hikers, Jocelyn Prostco, Paul Henderson, John Brandt, Iva Gillet and Marie Moss, joined hike leader Barbara Martin on the Torry Ridge Trail.  We climbed up into a glory of mountain laurel trees and some rhododendrons.  Jocelyn discovered a spotted salamander.  We all enjoyed lively conversations with each other.  We had lunch at a rock fall, sitting on moss and lichen-cushioned rocks, sheltered by a blooming rhododendron.  As Paul and Iva consulted their phones to see the likelihood of rain, Barbara looked at the blackening sky and saw the wind picking up and made her own prediction.  Shortly after turning around to go back it started to pour, accentuated by booms of thunder.  Jocelyn wondered if it would rain buckets and then indeed it did.  She had her first experience of hiking in the rain and getting completely soaked.  All maintained good cheer as we made our way at a brisk pace back to the cars.  Thoughtful Iva had brought plenty of towels for the drowned hikers to dry off with.  Driving home we saw homes and yards completely flooded by the South River.  We congratulated ourselves on not being fair weather hikers!


Cold Mountain - May 26, 2018

submitted by Barbara Martin

      A group of five hikers led by Barbara Martin enjoyed a great hike to Cole Mountain Saturday. Sunny Choi, Nancy Handley, Paul Henderson and Marian Styles beat the rain to the glorious views at the top of Cole Mountain. 


Love Gap - Mau-Har Trail - May 5, 2018

Mark Perschel stepped in to lead the Love Gap - Mau -Har Trail hike on May 5 because Marit Anderson had to tend to her ailing mother.  He was  joined by seven hikers including new comers Ivan Via and Karen Ballen, along with Nancy Handley, Iva Gillet, John Sinclair, Betty Joyce Nash, and Dave Borszich.  The group met up at Love Gap at MP 15.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway after some car pooling segments.  The group started on the fire road and headed in to unite with the  Mau- Har Trail at the Maupin Field Shelter.  The seven mile hike continued down along Campbell Creek for lunch and then a long haul back up the mountain to return to the parking area.  Elevation gain was 1180 feet.  The previous week Marit and Mark prehiked the route and the wildflowers shown below were from that excursion.  There were reports that it was a great day to be out in the Three Ridges Wilderness enjoying the falls, wildflowers, and nice weather.

Wildflower photos from the previous week:
Skunk cabbage

Common blue violet


Spring beauties

Wild geranium

Golden corydalis

submitted by Marit Anderson


Mutton Hollow - Vining Tract Trail Maintenance, Hike, and Pot Luck - April 21 & 22, 2018

Volunteers prepare to do trail work at Mutton Hollow

Ready for the potluck at Conley Cabin after 6 hours of maintenance 
Bill Holman, district manager of Mutton Hollow, helped to organize 4 groups of volunteers on Saturday, April 21 at the Mutton Hollow - Vining Tract off of Route 33 in Greene County. Iva Gillet and Marit Anderson led two groups of volunteers inspecting 12 miles of trails for blow downs, cutting back vegetation, and removing debris off of the trails.  Another group trimmed back vegetation on the road up to Mutton Top Cabin, as well as some of the connector roads.  The volunteers included Marian Styles, CJ Woodburn, David Crowe, Lisa Lampe and newborn son, Steve James, Michael Seth, Dave Borszich, John Brandt, and Peggy Byrd.  The other teams included Jodi Frederiksen and Dave Abdallah painting fresh blazes to mark the trails, along with Bill Holman and Mark Perschel using the chain saw to clear large blow downs. It was a very productive day and the crews put in over 6 hours of work. Cool, clear weather helped to make conditions optimum for some of the rugged hiking and work.  At 4 pm most of the volunteers congregated at Conley Cabin for refreshments and appetizers.  Dinner of hamburgers and many pot luck side dishes and desserts followed.  A cozy fire provided warmth as the evening wore on. Six folks stayed to spend the night and work on Sunday to do more chain sawing and swamping including Bill, Iva, Jodi, Dave, Mark, and Marit.  Meteor showers were anticipated after midnight, but cloud cover rolled in and unfortunately no one reported any sitings  The work was completed Sunday afternoon - the district manager was delighted by all that had been accomplished. 

Remy always loves to come out and play

Wineberry Cabin

Lovely red bud trees in bloom

May Apple

Conley Cabin - great lodging, party place, and view
submitted by Marit Anderson


Bear Church Rock Hike - April 7, 2018

From the Graves Mill Trail to intersection at the Staunton River Trail

Atop Bear Church Rock for lunch
 With a forecast of winter mix and cold temperatures, hike leader, Marit Anderson, decided not to cancel the hike set for Saturday, April 7, but instead have interested hikers reach her by phone, which allowed us to arrive at AHS ready to hike with the option to change the hike.  Five hikers decided collectively to forego the scheduled Corbin Mountain 11 mile hike for a shorter hike a little closer to home in case bad weather developed.  Iva Gillet and Remi the hiker dog, John Brandt, Mark Perschel, Nancy Handley, and Marit carpooled up to the Graves Mill parking area on VA662 to do the Bear Church Rock circuit in the Shenandoah National Park. We began on the Graves Mill trail along the Rapidan River and split off at the Staunton River Trail taking the steeper Jones Mountain Trail all the way up to Bear Church Rock through a canopy of Mountain Laurel.  We enjoyed the beautiful view and ate a quick lunch and dark chocolate, as the day was quite brisk.  Snow and hail spat at us as we descended and took the detour to see the Jones Mountain Cabin, a quaint cabin which might be fun to backpack to for an overnight someday.  We split off to take the less steep descent on the McDaniel Hollow Trail and rejoined the Staunton River and Graves Mill trails to return to our cars.  The mileage for the day was 8.5 miles with 2,210 ft of elevation gain.  We also did some trail maintenance - sawing and removing a tree on the trail. Everyone seemed happy to get a good hike in on a day we thought would be snowed out. Remi seemed the happiest of all!
Jones Mountain Cabin

Canopy of Mountain Laurel

Trail maintenance time

Hail on Remi

Bloodroot in bloom
**The Corbin Mountain Hike will be rescheduled for June.  Check the schedule because it is quite a nice hike on the Hughes River along the Nicholson Hollow Trail up to the Corbin Cabin and following the Corbin Mountain and Corbin Hollow Trails- starting at the Old Rag parking area.

submitted by Marit Anderson