Here is a neat little video on climbing an old Maple tree in Washington State on NPR this morning...
Tree Scientist Inspires Next Generation Through Barbie
Sunday, October 6, 2019
Monday, September 30, 2019
|Hiking north on the AT|
|View from Raven Rocks|
The hike was a nice 5.8 mile round trip, with a nice outcropping with a view as the reward. Having done very little hiking in recent days, I was kind of surprised how enjoyable this hike was. I started around 8:00am, I went slow, the trail is rocky and can seem somewhat steep at times, but not bad at all. Leaves were turning colors, especially on the ridge. Temps were unusually warm again. The trail is popular from what I could gather, and the lot was full of cars by the time I finished the hike around 11:00...
Saturday, September 28, 2019
|Potomac River running low|
Sunday, September 1, 2019
|Hemlocks on rock|
|Pendleton Point Overlook (afternoon)|
|Pendleton Point Overlook (morning after thunderstorm)|
|Fairfax Stone: small spring marks the beginning of the Potomac River|
|Green Ridge State Forest|
|Camping in Green Ridge State Forest, Maryland|
After camping in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia back in August, on the way home I stopped by Blackwater Falls State Park in West Virginia for the first time. I have to admit, as I get older my patience for crowds is dwindling. The State Park was full and the campsites seemed to be too close to one another for comfort and I almost bailed on camping there. I'm glad I didn't. There was plenty to see and do in the time I spent there. The falls were stunning, and easy to access. For me, the highlights were the views from Pendleton Overlook and Lindy Point Overlook. I guess most visitors tend to stay near the falls and the campground. I hardly saw anyone at the overlooks and was able to soak in the views without the distraction of Instagram selfy takers. A morning thunderstorm created some dramatic clouds in the valley of the Blackwater River from the Pendleton Overlook.
After Blackwater Falls, I felt it was appropriate to visit the Fairfax Stone once again. The Fairfax Stone is located in the fall western corner of Maryland and marks the beginning of the Potomac River. Having spent two weeks hiking along the river in June, it was cool to see this tiny trickle of water that starts the whole thing.
Finally, before ending the trip, I camped in the Green Ridge State Forest in Maryland. Last year, the forest here was exploding with newly formed mushrooms. I was shocked at the variety of different types, and felt like I was in the redwoods again. This year, the exact opposite was the case. I couldn't find any mushrooms this time around. I'm led to believe that the mushrooms need the right conditions to arrive. It was definitely dryer this August than last. The creeks and streams in the Blue Ridge were much lower than last, most likely due to the dry July we had this year...
Thursday, August 22, 2019
|Spruce and Hemlock|
|Some rhododendron still in bloom|
|Black Mountain Trail|
|Red Spruce Knob Trail|
The first week in August I returned to the Monongahela National Forest to camp for a few days after attending the Clifftop Old Time Music Festival in West Virginia. I had been looking forward to returning all year and hope to make an annual visit in years to come if possible. I explored several short trails in the region and also got a better grasp on what I was seeing. Last year, the place seemed like an eastern rainforest, water everywhere, creeks and streams bursting at the seams. Mushrooms bursting all over the forest floor. This year was a little different. Creeks and streams were much lower, there were hardly any mushrooms to be found, overall, things seemed much drier. Still beautiful nonetheless. The colors were still a feast for the eyes.
There were many wildflowers in bloom and butterflies, although even the butterflies seemed a little fewer this year at this time. The weather was warm, with afternoon thunderstorms.
The forest was a treat, and I enjoyed hiking amongst the red spruce and hemlocks, which were at times rather large. I learned this time around that the forest is all second growth. Unfortunately, loggers nearly obliterated the region in the early 1900's. Fires broke out on mountain tops with the heat so intense that even the soils were scorched and nearly destroyed. It will take hundreds of years for the forest ecosystem to recover. I would have loved to have been able to see what the forest originally looked like. Diaries of early explorers of the region burst with giddy excitement at the power and wildness of the original forest. Today, although grateful the forest is returning, you can tell that the power is not quite there yet. However, I was very grateful for the solitude, and rarely saw anybody on the hikes I chose.
Hopefully, next year, I will be able to peel back another layer and explore more of the region...