19 June 2011

Shenandoah: Beecher Ridge

Shenandoah National Park

< day 1

There was torrential rain through the night from not long after we went into the tent to not long before we came out of it in the morning. We'd not been careful enough with the ground cloth and some water had come onto it. My bag was wet, although still too warm for the night. Wet was creeping into everything, but had soaked nothing, so we were doing quite well. Well, almost everything. The new dry bag as bear bag was very successful and food very dry. Also bright orange and easy to spot, not that we've ever lost a bear bag.

We put together breakfast letting the instant oatmeal soak for 5 or 10 minutes before gobbling it up. Worked a charm and wasn't so cold out that we missed the heat. Oatmeal's never hot anyway, when having it out in the woods. We packed everything back up. Now the place where the tent was was the one dry spot instead of the one soaked spot.

dry leaves where the tent was surrounded by soaked forest floor
Our campsite for the night, post tenting and deluge.

the swollen stream that was our water source
Our source of water the day before. Unfortunately didn't take a photo of it then to show how it has swollen to twice the size of the day before.

It was starting to drip again as we left. The stream had swollen to twice what it had been, but my sister refused to even think about heading back up the steep slopes we had come down to see the waterfall again, this time in full flow. The other route up promised a more even climb and would be new to us. So we headed further down the trail to the second ghost intersection.

We turned to cross the swollen stream. There were about three sections of stream to cross and very few rocks. One of us had our shoes off to cross it and one of us thought "that's just a little too high for the waterproof boots" and went for it anyway, getting a bit of moist into the top of them. From here, we would climb up onto a ridge, so we filled the water containers. We started to climb, and the slope was at a much more pleasant angle to the previous day's trek.

another salamander of the same coloration
Another salamander! Or, you know, newt. Whichever it may be. It's wet all over today, so no worries about this one keeping its skin moist.

a few blueberries, although some of them aren't ripe and look albino
Some blueberries along the way, these in all stages of growth. They sure have a lot of different colors as they mature.

a fungus like a white sponge
A funny bit of fungus growing among the forest clutter.

so many legs on a centipede
Look at all of the legs! There were all kinds of these centipedes crawling about.

shooting stars
More flowers. These actually look quite familiar as some very similar ones grow commonly in the streams on the west coast.

pink flowers
I sense more fruit coming from these flowers.

The trail was a much more pleasant slope, even allowing for the way everything is steeper going down. It started to dribble and something properly rained on the way up. There was talk of stopping, but it wasn't cold unless we stopped and we would have much opportunity to dry off in a few hours. We stopped along a log for a rest and I stirred up some thick chocolate with crunchy marshmallows. We pondered the leaves of the trees and how they decided to split eventually, but not at the same time on both sides of the leaves. We continued on our way.

a bit of trail
Trail going up at a pleasant slope with logs for sitting upon.

daddy longleg spiders on the trail post
Some cute spiders on one of those posts marking a junction.

We took a detour up to the campground for a table to have lunch. I tried the energy bar I'd been given at the start. Something chocolate that turned out to have some coffee flavor too. I made it through 1/3 of the bar before giving up on it because it was far too sweet. There were other ways back to the parking that may have been easier or shorter, but we turned back and rejoined the trail we'd left to get back.

red mushroom cap growing mold
A bright red mushroom cap. This one seems to be growing some mold of its own, but some others were around too.

little white mushrooms
These little mushrooms look safer. They may not be, but they look it.

those white flowers around a felled tree
Getting closer. Back to the tiny fields of these white flowers.

a bit of trail with a scarred tree
The trail may be a little more open toward the top. Grasses can actually grow.

more flowers
A few more flowers.

And so we made it back to the car, not much worse for the wear and slightly moist. Soon the slightly moist was also taken care of.

©2011 Valerie Norton
Posted 9 July 2011

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