Monday, April 25, 2011

Raining and Training...

I guess I need to look more on the sunny side of life..
But unfortunately, I read and watch and listen to the weather forecast... especially before heading to the mountains for a day on Old Rag... you can too! right here! So when we received more than 6 inches of rain in an afternoon, and had active tornado warnings in place (not watches), and the high temperature for the day was only in the 40s... how suprised do you think the Stewards were when folks came off the summit dressed in shorts, short sleeved shirts and borderline hypothermic?
Shocked and speechless were close.... another group from VA Tech was "camping" near the summit... though their gear was virtually destroyed by the weather, wind and rain... They were not having fun.
Here are two pictures... the first one is of the small waterfall below the old upper parking lot at normal spring levels...

...the second is from Saturday afternoon.. In addition to cold temperatures and high winds, and a flooded access road... Not an ideal day to introduce someone to the joys of hiking Old Rag..

I forgot to mention, there were no views beyond treetop level in the parking lot..

The next time this is the forecast, I'm sure we'll see someone in a kayak or C1 looking for a first descent from PO Junction...

That is assuming ANYONE bothers to check the forecast..

This past week found nine of the Stewards in NE Alabama training with the National Park Service's Eastern High Angle Rescue Course. Five Stewards were instructors and four were first-time students...
continuing to advance the reputation of unsurpassed professionalism of Stewards on the

New Stewards in action at Little River Canyon AL...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

2011 .. First Weekend.. Capital Hiking Club...shame!!

It's so good to get back out on the mountain!
This year we're a month earlier than our historical start.. primarily due to the change in heavy visitation weekends... it keeps getting earlier and earlier!

We've been chomping at the bit to get going... and finally, the weekend arrived.
So this year we started... in the snow! And despite the slippery conditions, there were still plenty of visitors...
You know with a mountain as popular (in other words..crowded) as Old Rag, you see a lot of interesting things (read: destructive resource abuse) from visitors. Pooping and peeing right on the trail, breaking and pulling up plants, short-cutting switchbacks... vandalism of all types..lack of preparedness..... and basically non compliance with all of the principles of Leave No Trace (LNT) and in general most Park Service regulations that pertain to Old Rag Mountain.

Rarely, however, do the folks who are making the most impact leave their calling card.... until this weekend.

The good folks at the CAPITAL HIKING CLUB, I guess didn't get the word about all those pesky guidelines and regulations.. Showing up in several large buses... hiking in multiple LARGE groups, substituting (several) graffitti signs for adequate trip leadership..... I would expect much better from a prominant(?) hiking club.

I guess the blue blazes, the deeply rutted trail, and copious signage just aren't enough...