New Officers -- 1975 - 1976
President Celia Greenberg
Vice President Rick Holt
Secretary Jo Smith
Treasurer Bob Huber
Plus Volunteers ???
Trail Chairman Bob Huber
Anteater Editor Jo Smith
Hardy Auctioneer Jerry Seigel
Note for cavers (and everyone else too)
There are several closed or limited caves in the area we frequent. In order to preserve good will with cave owners their wishes should be respected. Hopefully the following list will be helpful in planning trips.
Key: The first letter states whether cave is closed or open. C=closed O=open (usually conditionally in this list)
The second letter gives conditions or state of access of cave entrance.
A= Entrance to cave can only be gained by payment of admission fee
B=Cave closed but not generally enforced
E=Cave closed enforced by owner
L=Access controlled and listed by conservation group
N=Cave closed by NSS for conservation purposes, social pressure enforced
P=Cave closed permanently by concrete, earth, etc.
S=Sensitive cave owner relations
T=Cave temporarily closed or closed seasonally (eg. hunting season)
W=Access usually limited to scientific work or serious cave projects
X=Cave closed but exception may be made for some people or groups
The third (and fourth) letters of the code give other miscellaneous info.
P=A government agency has a policy of limiting access for safety or scientific reasons
R=Permission is requested by owner before entering
Blue Hole C/E/F
Grand Caverns (Weyer's) O/A/G
Gypsy Hill Park C/P/?
Madison Saltpeter C/E/-
Breathing (Waiver must be signed) O/T/R
Butler Sinking Creek System C/L/G
Country Road 614 C/P/
Star Chapel Saltpeter C/N/
Milkman's (C.R. 609) C/P
Roaring Spring C/X/R
Van Devanter C/E/
Doll House C/E
Natural Bridge O/A/F
Windmill Deep O/-/R
Endless Caverns O/A/G
Massanuten Caverns O/A/G
Melrose Caverns O/A/G
3-D Maze O/S/R
Battlefield- Crystal Caverns O/A/G
Shenandoah Caverns O/A/G
Front Royal Caverns C/E
Roger's Belmont C/P
Skyline Caverns C/A/G
Bender's ` C/P
Jones Quarry C/E
Elkhorn Mountain (Mongold) O/S/R
Deam's (Organ System) C/W/R
Fuell's Fruit C/E/?
Humphrey's (Organ Sytem) C/W/R
Lipps "" "" C/W/R
Masters "" "" C/W/R
Overholt Blowing O/S/R?
Piercey's Cave C/W/R
Sivileys (Organ System) C/W/R
For organ system contact D.C. Grotto)
Byrd Offhard filled in
Duffy's filled in
Ditmer Squeeze closed
Dead Dog closed
Harpers Ferry Caverns admission fee
Greenville Saltpetre C/N
Laurel Creek O/-/R
Blow Hole C/P
Cave Mt. (uppper) C/N
Floyd Waggey's C/X/R
Hoffman School C/N
Minor Rexrods C/N
Mystic Cave C/E
Stratosphere Balloon C/X/C
Canis Major C/X/R
Cassell system C/X/R
Lobella Saltpeter C/N/?
Piddling Fit C/X/R
Poor Farm C/X/R
Walt Allen (Baxter's) O/-/R
Bowden #1 O/-/G
Sinks of Gandy C/N/
Big Spring C/L/G
Cave Hollow-Arbogast system C/N/
CAVE RESCUE COMMUNICATION NETWORK
(For cave rescue in Virginia and West Virginia)
PENNSYLVANIA CAVE RESCUE TEAM
(For Pennnsylvania Cave rescue)
(814) 865 5458
On foot across mountains,
laden with thoughts,
Each step brings memories,
The trail begins to climb,
breath comes hard,
Thoughts slip by in a blur.
You walk with purpose.
Your worries dissolve,
Those fears become a challenge.
The summit nears,
A smile opens your soul
-- you've broken free.
TRIP REPORTS (Gossip)
The Art and Science of Vindication
How to Go Camping Without Going Camping
On Friday, January 24 eight of us procrastinated in front of the Student Union as we tried to figure out where we should go for the weekend. This is not usually such a problem but for this weekend we received a forecast from our resident amateur weatherman Bob E. that we could expect two solid days of rain with the possibility of the second day being snowy instead of rainy. Bob was so confident of his forecast that he changed his mind about going with us and decided to spend the weekend at the Big U. We finally decided on the Plantation Trail in the vicinity of Davis, W. Va. (Davis is a hick town which boasts of it's "Canadian" climate.)
Everybody climbed into my truck (literally) and we headed off to the wilderness as visions of raindrops danced in our heads. We arrived at the trailhead in the wee morning hours and finally found a spot on the side of the road that wasn't covered with three foot of snow. Linda, Eric, Dina and Elliot set up tents and Mark, John, Karen and I slept in the camper. Eric had the distinct pleasure of sleeping in a wet goose down sleeping bag. It seems that a canteen sprung a leak and sprinkled wetness all over his pack. He was quite pleased with the situation. The gods sprinkled rain on us during the night. Dina and Elliot awoke as they were floating out of their tent.
As morning dawned upon us it was still raining upon us. I looked upon the rain and said, "No way, Man!" Eric appeared upon the dampness and said, "Let's go hiking!" I looked upon Eric and said, "No way, Man!" At this point (all upon's aside) two factions formed. There was the "Let's go hike in the rain group of Eric, Linda and Karen, and there was the "Let's not" group of Mark, John, Dina, Elliot and myself. I must confess that I was the instigator of the "softie" group, but then it's probably good for the soul to do something sane every now and then. As the hiking group disappeared among the rain drops the rest of us shook our heads in disbelief and pondered on what we could do for two days.
Well, we pondered and then set out on our own adventure. First we headed up to Blackwater Falls. The river was spectacularly high due to the rain and snow melt. Then we buzzed on down to the Alpine Inn and had lunch. Having nothing better to do we drove down to the Blackwater tourist trap and walked out to the overlook behind the lodge. From what we could tell from looking through sheets of windblown rain there must be a great view of the valley. Not being like our cohorts (tough or something like that) we quickly got in out of the rain and sat in the lodge watching UCLA play Notre Dame on the color TV in the lounge.
We soon tired of that and headed back to the trailhead. Later in the evening we went back to the Alpine Inn for a pizza dinner (a mistake.) For the rest of the evening we sat in the camper listening to the wind and rain, and working crossword puzzles in the Pittsburg Gazette. The rain changed to snow sometime during the night and the wind picked up considerably (gust of up to 70 mph according to the radio.) We sat there in the truck all day Sunday waiting for our cohorts to appear from out of the whiteness. About 4 pm a truck stopped nearby and out piled our frozen friends -- a bit chilled but otherwise unperturbed and convinced that they had enjoyed their soggy frostbitten hike. Theirs is a story that remains to be told. Eric step forward.
The drive home was an experience in itself. The roads in W. Virginia were entirely snow covered -- as much as a foot deep in places with drifts even deeper. Somehow we made it through the maze of stalled cars and trucks, snowdrifts and whiteouts, and after a short seven hour drive we were back at this wonderful university.
Bob, Chris, Kevin, Mark, Chuck and I went to Nutt Cave. Having left Field House with a minimum of time wasting, we entered the cave around 10 am.
We slid into the stream and splashed toward the breakdown section. Somewhere in the breakdown is a well-traveled crawlway to the decorated room in the back. We could not find it. We thought we checked every possible (and some not possible) place a human body could fit. Then we heard voices, another group of cavers?
When some of the lights and voices reached us I asked if any of them had been in the cave before (obviously the ones with flashlights in their hands hadn't.) The knowledgeable person soon approached and said, "Hi, Celia" I just stared and thought frantically, where have I seen this person before? PSC maybe?
"Phil, from around the corner," he identified himself as. Oh, sure, Phil from the corner that was in my sixth grade class and I haven't seen since. A few questions revealed that he knew the way to the back of the cave. The group of 17 people had 15 total beginners. The group is from the U. of Md. and is called the Outdoors Activity Club.
"The What?" several Trail Clubbers yelped at once. We explained about the Trail Club, but didn't find out very much about their group. We helped one of the people with his lamp and followed them to the back of the cave (through an crawlway not checked out well enough.)
We oohed and aahed at the formations and signed the register before leaving hurriedly to avoid the rush. Then covered in our muddy glory we posed for pictures. Perhaps we can switch the before and after pictures and sell them for a detergent commercial.
On the day after the Ides of March four of us went for a little hike in the Massanuttens. We had a rather late start at the trailhead (12 noon). This was due to a.) Bob, the driver, was late showing up at the Student Union and b.) a hot water bottle. The end result was that we ended up with tow boats on top of our car and we combined our trip with a white-water crazy people trip to Passage Creek.
As we loaded the boats onto the car I received a lesson in boat taxonomy from Eric (this was brought on by my calling his watchamacallit-with-the-three-holes-in-it a kayak.) We arrived at our destination, dropped the boats off and returned to Route 55 to meet the rest of our hiking party. Well , for some unknown reason they decided they didn't feel like hiking, so that left Bob, Steve, Justin and myself with only half a day left and no car to use as a shuttle. We searched the map and found an area where we could make a circuit hike that would only require one car.
Our starting point was at Little Fort Campground (actually the vandalized sign on the road reads "Little Fart". This drew a few chuckles as we drove by.) We began our hike along a jeep road that follows a creek in the valley. We had to cross the creek and this whetted (pun intended, by Jove!) our appetites for something more challenging than an easy hike in the valley. So to add a little spice to the hike we headed off to the west and began whacking our way through the buck-brush. We crossed the creek again and climbed to the ridge. When we reached the top we began hiking south again along the rocky ridge top. At one point we attempted to pinpoint our location with map and compass. We were thoroughly confused by the conflicting compass and map until we realized that the PATC map we were using had north toward one corner instead of the top of the map. The map also had 100 ft. contour intervals which added to the confusion. But since it is kind of hard to get lost on a ridge top there was no real trouble with finding our way. We just hiked along the ridge (Green Mountain, I believe) for an hour or so and then whacked our way back down to the jeep road and hiked back to the car.
By the way, the trail in the valley passes through an area where the hardwoods have been girdled and the area replanted with pine -- a rather eerie place on a cloudy day with all the dead skeletons of hardwoods still standing.
Next we drove to the lookout tower on top of the ridge and climbed it to get a view of the bends of the Shenandoah River. From there we headed back to Route 55 to pick up our canoeing cohorts, then to Good Food, then home through the rain.
Dolly Sods was the scene of another adventure of four mad hikers over the weekend of February 15. It's really supposed to be a two-day weekend, but we decided to stretch it a little. Or stretch it a lot, maybe. Anyway, at 5 pm on Friday afternoon, Karen, Elaine, Polly and Bob piled packs, snowshoes and bodies into a grey Mazda wagon known as the "California Kamikaze" for a routine suicide ride to West Virginia.
As usual, the trip was completely uneventful except for the traveling back and forth. We decided to go by way of Western MD and hit Laneville from the back, rather than risk sliding off a snowy cliff on FS 19 as we almost did several weeks before.
Naturally, the munchies hit, so we skidded on into Junior Hot Shoppes in greasy old Frederick, MD. After a hasty excuse for a meal, the four showed the first signs of insanity by running several laps around the parking lot. The exercise was good except for the people that were knocked off by passing motorists. We picked up the pieces and loaded up the car again, except I think we must have left some of the pieces behind.
Well, at a decent hour (yes, before sunrise), we arrived at Laneville to find a car parked right in the middle of the road, impeding our further progress. So Polly and Bob pounded on the door of the cabin, fully expecting to look down the barrel of a shotgun when the door was opened. Unfortunately, they were spared the experience and after convincing a couple of city slickers to come out of the warm cabin into a 10 degree night, they slid the car onto the sheet of ice known as Laneville parking area. Well, you better believe those tents went up quickly and those bodies disappeared into sleeping bags in a few minutes. It was COLD.
I might as well tell you what we planned to do so you'll know what didn't happen. The idea was to follow Little Stonecoal up to Cabin Mountain Trail, and then over some jeep tracks to the Blackbird Knob area for the first night. Then we'd head over to Red Creek Campground and down Fisher Spring Run Trail to within a couple miles of the car Sunday night, allowing for a quick escape Monday morning. So much for dreaming.
We started out along the high water trail in an intermittent snow. The first creek crossing was a success for three and a disaster for the other. Guess who? My shin is bruised to this day. I had a perfect spot to cross, easily acessible, narrow and a good flat rock to leap from. Trouble was, that nice flat rock had just enough ice on it to leave me crawling across the creek.
Actually it turned out to be no great loss because the sun came out and warmed things up pretty quickly. We were hiking in T-shirts before long. Little Stonecoal was beautiful with nice views of waterfalls and ice falls in the canyon. After an abominable lunch ranging from sharp cheddar cheese to sardines, we made it to the top and picked up Cabin Mountain Trail.
Well, that was about the last we saw of the trails for the day. You see, there being few trees to blaze, the Forest Service, in their infinite wisdom, provided us with rock piles and blue blazes on the ground. Of course, they can't be blamed if the snow gets a foot deep and covers all their trail markings. Perhaps all the snow was our fault -- we left the snowshoes in the car. Anyway, we walked in circles the rest of the day, now and then finding the trail for a short stretch. As evening and wet feet began to settle in we stumbled upon a hunter's cabin right beside the trail. With the door unlocked and firewood stockpiled, temptation overcame any sense of principle, however, we yielded the cabin to two trail skiers for the night and set up our tents out on the snow cover.
Suday dawned grey and threatening rain, to the dismay of skiers and hikers alike. The skiers assured us that we could find the trail across to Red Creek with no trouble and that the crossing at Fisher Spring Run was easy. More later on what we plan to do with them if we ever see them again.
We picked up Breathed Mountain Trail for a little while, but the great Forest Service trail blazing did us in again. We decided to just bushwhack the couple of miles over to Red Creek rather than trying to find the trail. It took two broken ankles from rack traps under the snowpack to convince me that that wouldn't work. Somehow, I'm not sure how, we made it to Red Creek Trail at the forks by early afternoon. Since we were pretty well behind schedule already, we chose to forget about Red Creek Campground and head downstream for that easy crossing at Fisher Spring Run.
Soon afterwards, the rain set in and gave some relief to our wet feet by saturating the rest of our bodies. Thus, cold, wet and hungry we came down the hill to Red Creek with our campground just about a mile downstream on the other side.
Now for what we're going to do to those skiers who told us we could get across. Perhaps a suitable punishment would be to make them show us how to swim across a half frozen river carrying a 50 lb. pack. Or a good old-fashioned tar and feather job might do. Red Creek was a raging torrent forty feet wide with nothing but a few pointed, icy rocks. We left our inflatable bridge behind. Well, given the circumstances and the crazy people involved, it's surprising we didn't take off our clothes and swim. But in violation of all trail club tradition, we did the sensible thing and set up camp right on the spot to stave off hypothermia. The next morning we could take off back up Rocky Point trail to Big Stonecoal which has a bridge over Red Creek. Provided we got up early enough we could make it back in time for Bob's night class and Polly's test. Right? Wrong! Who ever heard of getting started early. It took us till 1 o'clock Monday afternoon to get to the car.
I'm not done yet; we still have a trip home. That's when things really started to happen. You see, on the way up, Bob had been telling the Crazy Californian (ask Polly who that is) about all the great views along the way. We made it a point to come home the same way, but during daylight, in order to see the views. Of course, nobody bargained on typical West Virginia weather -- rain, snow, fog and just about everything else. The upshot of it is that we didn't see a thing all the way home, not even the oncoming traffic and the trucks pushing us down the hills. We got back alive by an act of God, with only two pit-stops -- a gas station and a McDonalds. There were also a few stops on 70s to investigate the overheated engine, while cars went by at 60 mph throwing waves of water our way. By 7:30 we made it back to the land of sanity. Feeling quite out of place and not looking forward to a week of exams and papers, we sat around drinking grapefruit tang and playing a guitar until 8 or 9 o'clock. Well, what more is there to say? Polly's test was at 7 o'clock.
"Dry up Sweetheart," or
"Here's Mud in Yer Eye"
by Chris Wichie
Bob, Kevin, Mike, Chuck and I congregated at the usual place for a trip to Field House and caves. "Traveling light, aren'tcha?" Bob said to me. Oh, well, back to my place to get more clothes, blankets, spare boots, kitchen sink. We finally started to "Rock 'n Roll" and bleary hours late saw a VW bug lying on its side by the road and a scavenger. No groaning bodies inside so we continued. We managed to make it to Field House with only the bottom of Bob's brand new car scraped off.
We all woke up next morning, bright-eyed and chipper. Would you believe just chipper? Oh well, anyway, first we went to Nut Cave and asked Celia about the exploding carbide and the guy down the street. Nut Cave must be so named (despite legends to the contrary) because you gotta be nuts to go through it. Well, whoever said cavers were sane? I'm ready to go again! Anyway, four symptoms of hypothermia later, I wondered for the first time (proving how crazy I am), "What am I doing here!" Till then the camaraderie and adrenalin were holding me together. After jumping (with, of course, slippery muddy sneakers) over some twenty foot deep pits, my question was answered and we found the back room. The formations were fantastic -- flowstone, draperies, straws, dwarves, Gollum. It was really beautiful and worth the bruised and battered knees (and Bob's blistered hand from burning bar.....er carbide lamp.) My mother wished I'd taken up birdwatching.
We drove back to Field House. Later that night, we heard about the girl who was handcuffed and there was no key, and heard mysterious thumps on the ceiling. Going upstairs I found some guys trying to crawl into the top bunk in a very strange way. So far nobody had made it (crashes to the floor being the usual result.) Well, after that cave I thought I could do anything, so I tried it and made it. I now have the dubious honor of "climber into the bunk champ."
Next morning we woke up from some blasted Search and Rescue alarm clock, bright-eyed and (all right, we dragged ourselves out of bed), and ate a (fill in the blank) breakfast. And we were all ready for another cave. We drove up to Mystic and waded through the cow manure to the entrance. After a while of easy but wet, numbing going, we reached the warning, "Point of No Return." Feeling like a certain general, we mentally promised, "I shall return!" Everybody pushed different masochists' delight, tunnels and I tried scaling a mud wall to shouts of "Go Wonderwoman!" It was a dead end, of course. We followed the stream, going up waterfalls ( with Kevin doing amazing feats of tricky climbing so as not to get too cold and wet and risking total calamity) and followed until it was a narrow fissure. "The entrance is probably just ahead," someone said. Huh! We walked through it, most places just barely enough to fit your helmet through, and with razor blade formations sticking out neck high. Luckily no one sneezed.
Later we found an inner tube in the water. What some people won't try! No, no there must be some other reason for an inner tube to be several hours deep in a cave. We finally found the point where we couldn't go anymore (no rope, of course!) There was a 15 ft. waterfall in front of us, and even the guys only thought of climbing it for a few seconds, while I quivered in my boots, half expecting them to try it. Well, we didn't find the bones of the inner-tuber at the bottom of the falls. We came back, my cold cured by the aroma of the cave mud, and so ended an enjoyable weekend.
(Sorry about the missing text (marked with ...) in the next couple stories, Thhe copy I was transcribing from was damaged.)
How to Spend a Weekend
Dear Mom and Dad,
Once upon a time (actually the weekend of the 7,8,9 of February) three fine friends and I set out for a weekend of backpacking in the Calidonia State Forest of Pennsylvania. My associates were Rick, the tough (because he'd hike till his feet fell off), Dennis, the sloppy (he's a sight to behold hiking in his long underwear), and Jim, the sophisticate (he looked like a neat John Boy Walton in his new knickers outfit.)
We arrived at Caledonia at the distressing early hour of 11 pm, mainly because it's only 15 miles west of Gettysburg, Pa. As per standard procedure (when with Rick and his camper) we all bedded down the first night in the back and made with enlightening conversation till sleep overtook us, about 10 minutes. But our nights were always to be a source of great entertainment when sleeping with Dennis. This first night Dennis decided to talk in his sleep. While Dennis (sound asleep) would complete a whole sentence that made absolutely no sense at all, Jim (wide awake) would ask, "What? What'd you say Dennis?" It had all the makings of an absurd conversation till Rick let Jim know that Dennis really wasn't with us.
Bright and early Saturday morning (actually 9:00, another record) we arose to a clear, crisp, beautiful sunny day. Very cold but perfect for hiking. After a hearty breakfast of gorp and a piece of orange we were on the AT by 10:00 AM. After 1.97 miles our first stop was the Quarry Gap shelter where we found the shelter's logbook. Dennis left a note of immense social value that (in summary) went like this:
We four backpackers have decided to live
in this shelter for four years or until
the senseless slaughter of the sacred
Dreysofullas has been stopped.
Our next stop was Milesburn cabin where we had lunch and re-met a couple who'd passed us on the trail. There we ate our lunches and watched the snowmobile races and delighted in their noise and fumes. Wretched machines. We also fed the chickadees who possessed incredible bravery by coming within a couple feet of us. Here Rick displayed a mean streak we'd never seen before. He coaxed a chickadee within two feet of his fingers holding a succulent peanut. The chickadee decided to head for a nearby branch to study the situation. Then it happened, right in front of the chickadee, Rick ATE the peanut! Boo Rick was echoed by all.
We finally arrived at our night camp, the Birch Run Shelter, at about 4:00 PM. The desire for firewood was great (Dennis had brought some marshmallows) as the temperature was dropping swiftly. We then started the great firewood gathering escapades. As the ground with covered with snow most wood lying around would be wet, the only other place is up! Rick produced (from god knows where) a ten foot nylon cord and tied it to the middle of a two foot stick. The process then was to launch stick and cord around an unsuspecting dead branch and pull it down. This was completed several times with success till our ambition outstripped our means and we tried to pull down a branch as sturdy as the Rock of Gibralter. Jim found a tree that looked easy to take down so Rick and I pushed as Jim pulled. The tree collapsed on Jim but he didn't bleed much.
Events moved swiftly thereafter and a ..... ablaze. I tried to fix Dennis's perfectly alright stove and .... part of it When Dennis tried to turn the stove out it .... Not thinking too clearly I said unscrew the cap and... shortly thereafter I noticed a bright flare up behind....heard a lot of profanity.
After a communal dinner topped off with a dozen marshmallows each we headed for the sack. As I mentioned camping with Dennis was always to be our nighttime entertainment, this night was no exception. The four of us were lined up side by side to facilitate a warm sleep and hear each other snore. Then about 3 am Dennis started the entertainment and let rip three Blood Curdling, Hair-Raising, Adrenaline Pumping SCREAMS scaring the hell out of anything within a mile of our camp. Shortly thereafter Rick, "The Tough" asked in a calm voice, "Are you alright, Dennis?" Dennis answered with "there's a giant spider somewhere in here!" After removing my eyeballs from the ceiling I non-chalantly asked, "Where did you see it, Dennis?" Then Dennis realized it was merely a dream. He then described a two foot spider and how he thought he'd better warn us about it. Considerate, that boy. Jim thought he heard the screams in his own dream.
Sunday morning arrived cold and gray with a touch of snow in the air. We packed up semi-swiftly and were on the trail by 9:30 am. (beat our own record.) We hiked to the ... Fire Tower, scurried up it and viewed the breathtaking hills of Pa. While ...covered road in search of our trail we were almost.... snowmobiles. I've never seen so many snow mobiles in my life....stop before the road was the Anna Michener cabin. A ... of ten was there and invited us in to get rid of some of their fruit so they wouldn't have to carry out so much. Nice people, nice time, nice fruit. I believe they were a bit shocked at Dennis's long john clad appearance, but were kind enough not to mention it. We got down to the road about 2 pm where Rick tried to make his appearance look neat (fat chance) so he could hitch a ride back to the camper. Dennis produced a.... Route 30 and five seconds later Rick was on his way. So ended a great trip.
P.S. Just before we got to the road Jim fell into a stream soaking both boots. No winter trip is complete without this sacred ritual trip carried out.
P.P.S. Rick had lost one set of keys but found them in the trucks ignition.
P.P.P.S We hiked 14 miles
Northville-Lake Placid Trail
As the Spring Break Exodus for Florida began on Friday I stood watching and wondering why I was heading in the opposite direction. My humongous winter pack and snowshoes drew looks of surprise, wonder and even a few snickers from the Florida-bound carloads of people leaving the University. Well, the only way I can explain it is that five other trail-clubbers and myself came down with a strange variety of spring fever -- winteritis nostalgiosus. By Saturday morning we were in the snow covered foot-hills of the Adirondacks whizzing down the road toward Piseco, N.Y. As we rubbed our eyes in hopeful disbelief we looked out on plow-drifts of snow 5 to 10 foot high on both sides of the road. This is what we came for and, by Jove, we got it -- snow everywhere, a sure cure for any form of spring fever. While Phil and Jim took off in the cars to set up the shuttle, Bob, Linda, Mary and I headed down the trail. As soon as we began hiking it began to sleet. We trudged along without snowshoes for a couple hundred yards, but finally gave in and put them on. Since none of us had done very much snowshoeing it was an interesting experience. The first hour was spent mostly on adjusting bindings and getting up after falling down. By the second hour we were trucking along pretty good. Snowshoeing is easy once you get the hang of it.
Sunday dawned clear and cold. With our group back together (Jim and Phil came in about three hours after we did on Saturday due to unexpected delays in setting up the shuttle -- all the roadside parking places were plowed under eight feet of snow) we headed for Spruce Lake. By midday we reached a point where we were no longer following snowmobile tracks and the trail was a little rougher -- too rough for snowmobiles anyway. We had a little trouble finding the shelter at the lake. The trail to the shelter was not blazed so it was hard to follow. Jim and I followed it down to the lake and almost missed it until we realized that the pile of logs covered with snow was actually the lean-to almost buried under drifting snow. We spent a cozy evening there in our 'igloo' looking out over the frozen lake. During our evening discussion we concluded that we weren't going to be able to hike as far in 5 days as we originally had planned. We had been doing 5 miles a day. In order to reach our original takeout point we would have to average 7 mile per day, so we checked over the map and found a slightly shorter route which would allow us to average 5 mile a day. Another point of discussion (and sadistic humor) was the fact that Jim and Bob both had snowshoes which were slowly disintegrating with every step (rented from the Trail Club, by the way.)
Monday we awoke to cloudy skies. Soon after we began hiking the clouds started dumping rain on us. We arrived at the West Canada Lake Hilton (lean-to) much sooner than we expected. Our original calculation from the map indicated it was a five mile hike, but after only four miles of hiking we were there. It was a pleasant surprise. We were glad to get in out of the sloppy weather and sticky snow. This day's wet hike added the finishing touches to the already disintegrating snowshoes. You could hardly see the original webbing through all the nylon cord and straps. Bob and Jim had by this time resorted to pilferage of all available material including tent guy lines and sleeping bag straps to use in repairng their snowshoes. Linda too was beginning minor repairs on her snowshoes. Phil, Mary and I still had snowshoes that looked reasonably like snowshoes.
Tuesday's hike started off on the wrong foot. We went about 200 yards and then lost the trail. It took about 20 minutes to find it again. By mid-morning the sun came out and warmed things up enough to melt some of the ice and snow from the tree branches. This made for a rather wet hike, but also gave the woods a glistening beauty. The sun shining through the evaporating mists and on the wet trees and bright snow gave the woods the look of springtime. We stopped for lunch at a shelter near Sampson Lake. It clouded up as we sat there munching and by the time we reached the jeep road a mile from Pillsbury Lake we were walking through a deluge of big juicy flakes. We spent the night at the shelter on Pillsbury Lake. For an evening snack we were treated to hot Jell-O by Bob (try it, you'll like it.)
On Wednesday we did a forced march out to the highway (for no other reason than to get there quick-like). We covered twelve miles in four hours. Half of it was on frozen snow (morning temp was 15 degrees) which made for fast walking and the second half was on icy muddy dirt roads without our snowshoes. This last section was a real pleasure -- after hiking for five days with snowshoes, hiking without them was like walking on air. We neglected to check the map at one of the trail intersections and came upon a lake that wasn't supposed to exist. We checked the map and found that we were where we were supposed to be, we just didn't know it. (If you can figure out that last sentence you get a free snowball.) Well, very shortly we were back at the highway and so ends the tale of the fateful snowshoe.
Some facts and tips:
It took approximately 11 hours to get there -- we used two cars, a Toyota and an Impala, the total fuel and tolls amounted to about $90. The only snowshoes which showed no appreciable damage were Phil's neoprene laced Tubbs. Mary's rawhide laced shoes also held up well but they were new at the beginning of the trip. Good bindings seem to save wear on the lacings. The trail was very hard to follow at times. A considerable amount of time was spent fanned out in the woods looking for blazes on trees since the footpath was buried under 3-4 foot of snow. Topographic maps were essential. There is a McDonald's in Albany. It only took us two hours, a half tank of gas and 30 near-accidents to find it. When you go snowshoeing take along lots and lots and lots of extra cord and wire for repairs.
Good quote: "Whether you're a Furry Freak or president of the PTA, you're going to blow people's minds, either with your wild clothes or your big flashy car...Keeping the mutual shock to a minimum will benefit all of us. So remember please: Wherever you go...There you are! -- Carl Franz, People's Guide to Mexico
After much arguing about vertical caves ...weather (no one wanted to ascend a wet rope in a freezing...and I decided to enter the Key Cave and look for the connection to Friends Run. We found the connection to Friends Run Cave soon after we ... the entrance crawlway. We had explored most of Friends Run when we found the pit at the back. the 150 ft. rope was quickly rigged and we descended to find that none of the passages went anywhere. After ascending (without being rained on) we headed back toward the entrance. Just inside of the entrance we met a survey party that pointed out a nice size crawlway, ending in a tight squeeze, bypassing the way we had entered. I very quickly jumped at the challenge and succeeded in squishing through to the cold weather, Chuck followed me, Bill and Jim couldn't fit and left through the longer wider passage.
Rappahannock, Etc. March 8, 1975
On a rather cold March morning Paul Flack and myself waited for the others to show up. Cold weather, talk of doing 30 ... and other factors had taken their toll. We gave up waiting for anyone else to materialize and set off, two people, two boats, one car, for a day on the river. Low water, no shuttle and such trimmed the 30 mile marathon to a more manageable two mile run on the Rappahanock at Fred...was a 3/4 foot and the fall line rapids went quickly. We spent the rest of the day stomping around through briars, sandpits and construction sites in an attempt to scout Pohick and Accotink Creeks, which are near Lorton, Va. Accotink had about 1 mile of good, ledgy rapids in a setting of extreme contrasts: rock outcrops, laurel and forest on one side; present and future industrial parks, debris, sandpits, etc. on the other side. Only the last 1 1/2 miles from the fence line of Fort Belvoir to Alban Road are not posted and the put-in is a problem.
Pohick Creek on the other hand, was everything Accotink wasn't. Good scenery, a good rapids between Hoola Road and Route 642, a 5 mile run. Both creeks would need a heavy rain to be runnable. Looks well worth the effort for Pohick.
Of Mice and Morefield March 21, 1975
We left for Dolly Sods in the midst of the confusion Friday afternoon, when the dorm residents were being evicted for the Spring Break, ate supper at the Good Food (first time for Clare) and got to Red Creek Campground on Dolly Sods Friday night. Our tent only collapsed once that night, fortunate in view of Saturday's problems. Saturday dawned warm and sunny and we packed up and got ready to strike off into the wilderness. Before we could leave it rained, so we piled into the car and started gradually losing our minds.
With nothing better to do, we drove around, first to Bell Knob Fire Tower for a bird's eye view of the rain, then through some back country roads to a gas station in Canaan Valley where the attendant instructed us in twiddling our thumbs, then to Petersburg to look for a movie. By now the rain had been reduced to scattered showers, but we still had about 4 hours to kill before the only movie started. So we asked directions to the town bowling alley from some local citizens hanging out in front of the theater and set off to find it.
On the way, we picked up an old man with one leg thumbing a ride. He didn't have any teeth and was hard to understand, but we finally figured he wanted a ride to Morefield, 15 miles away, for a haircut. On reaching Morefield he pointed out a barber shop to us. The shop was closed, but he got out anyway, apparently knowing where he was going, and stood there waving to us until we left. Morefield movie theater was showing "That's Entertainment", so we decided to stay there, eat and see it.
After supper we killed an hour walking around Morefield. We must have been obviously foreigners, because all the local teenagers were honking and waving to us as they careened their hotrods down the street.
After the move we returned to Dolly Sods and 50 mph winds. We slept in Bell Knob fire tower that night, which seemed like the safest place.
Sunday morning Dan said he felt little animals crawling over him all night. They turned out to be mice, and they ate all our raisins and chewed a big hole in our roll of toilet paper.
Sunday was a beautiful, warm day and we went hiking on the Blackbird Knob Trail. We found some beaver ponds, some snow, swollen unpolluted streams, and the first Robins any of us had seen this Spring. We got back to College Park late that night.
Sleeping with Your Eggs
Way down south in the land called Virginia in the well-trodden backcountry near the stream called Ramsey’s Draft at the place named Confederate Breastworks, seen of the biggest meanest toughest trail clubbers this side of Terrapin Hall lay quietly sleeping. This was Friday, March 7. At the sleepy hour of 2:30 am on Saturday morning they were awakened by the klunk-klunk-sputter-sputter of a dilapidated automobile and its vociferous owner-operator Al Pickett. “Hey, is anybody sleeping in that camper (bang, bang, bang)?” Voiced drifted from within the camper, “Hell no, how can we sleep with all that noise?” Hey, is Rick Holt there” yells Pickett. At this point for some unknown reason Steve decided to leave the camper to answer a call of nature. As he opened the door he was immediately accosted. “Hey, are you Rick Holt?” Bewildered (and possibly insulted) Steve replied, “What!?” And so ended the conversation. Al and friend disappeared into the darkness heading for Sexton Cabin and Steve, Rick, Mark, Dennis and Elaine returned to their dreams. Bob and Karen, who had earlier decided that putting up a tent in 50 mph winds and snow flurries in the dark would be more fun than sleeping kersmunched in the camper, were not even aware of the delightful encounter, which had just occurred.
Morning came all too soon. The sun rose through clear skies. The air was very cold and the strong winds added even more chill to the bones of the hardy hikers. Getting started in the cold air added a measure of exhilaration to the hike. Ridge walking was the order of the day. The group follows the trail, which snakes along the ridge just west of Ramsey’s Draft. The ridge itself is the dividing line between Virginia and West Virginia. The trail crosses back and forth between one state and the other giving the hikers panoramic views of both states. This state hopping set up a debate in the ranks of the chorus. They couldn’t decide whether to sing “Take me home country roads” or “Carry me back to old Virginy.” So they compromised and sang “Dixie” while Elaine played “Oh, Christmas Tree” on her harmonica.
When they reached Sexton Trail they left their packs and hiked on down to the cabin to bother the group of trail-clubbers who were spending the weekend at the cabin. There was a short and happy reunion and everybody took turns trying out the hammock, which hung from the rafters. After everyone had proven their ability to lie in the hammock without falling out, the hikers left the warm cabin and headed back out into the cold. By the time the sky was beginning to cloud up and threaten snow. For the rest of the day it snowed in spurts. It would snow for about 10 minutes then it would stop for a while. Kind of weird weather, but Bob was quite pleased with it since he had predicted that it would snow.
The group hiked on, generally gaining elevation as they headed toward Hardscabble Knob. From the knob the route goes down the right prong of Ramsey’s Draft along a rocky trail, which winds among towering hemlocks. This area was their destination for the evening. Their objective was to find the biggest darn tree in the forest and camp right underneath of it. They hiked on down the trail to the point where it becomes an abandoned jeep road and then crossed the creek and searched out a granddaddy of a tree – a veritable monster of several feet in diameter. This was their campsite for the evening (the map calls this area Freezeland Flats, a most appropriate name). Just about the time everyone was cooking dinner it began to snow again, and this pleased everyone, especially Bob. While the others shivered through cooking dinner, Rick sat in his tent and had his own version of backpacker’s delight – Sunshine Hydrox cookies (apologies to Mr. Oreo), walnuts, frozen Swiss cheese, and M&M’s. Yum, yum.
According to later reports the temperature during the night got down to zero degrees. Getting out of the sleeping bag in the morning was a chilling prospect. For breakfast Dennis decided to eat some of the hardboiled eggs he had brought along, but when he peeled them he discovered that they had metamorphosed overnight into amorphous white blobs of solid ice (he had neglected to follow Trail Club rule #31: sleep with your eggs.) When the group tried to cross the creek to get back to the jeep road they found that the rocks were all iced over. This made a dry footed crossing impossible. To avoid wet feet on this cold morning they bushwhacked down along the creek to where the road crosses it about 150 yards downstream. As anyone who has hike this section of trail knows, it crosses the creek a zillion times. All of the crossings were icy and snowy. The water level wasn’t particularly high, but it was too high to just walk across without getting wet. So each crossing required detours up and downstream to search out the best place to cross. In spite of all the slippery crossings there were no major dunkings—just a few wet feet. About two miles downstream the group turned off on the trail to Sexton Cabin. This trail follows a small brook called Jerry Run and is sort of a miniature version of Ramsey’s Draft. At the cabin there was another short reunion with fellow Trail-clubbers who were just packing up to leave the cabin and then headed on up to the ridge trail and back to Confederate Breastworks. From there it was a quick drive to the Good Food Diner where lo-and-behold who should walk in but – you guessed it—Al Pickett and the Sexton Cabin Boys (oops! And girls.)
P.S. I have just been informed by Earl the Aardvark that all that stuff about hiking along the Va-W Va line is a bunch of crap. We were actually hiking along a Va. County line. Since this is a reflection on Bob’s map reading ability I won’t tell you that he was the one who read the map.
Shenandoah Dayhike (Run)
On Sunday, April 6 six of us (Justin, Bob E., Karen, Tyler, Mark and Rick) set out to walk the length of PATC Map #9 or as much as we could without collapsing. As it turned out everybody but Bob collapsed. Actually everybody didn’t intend to walk the whole distance. From the beginning Justin, Karen and Taylor intended to only go for a short dayhike. As it turned out they hike 17 miles anyway. Mark and I pooped out at 19 miles and Bob, The Intrepid, persisted for the whole 22 miles (Compton Gap to Thornton Gap.)
We started our hike at Compton Gap at 11 AM and hiked south from there. It was quite windy and a little chilly for standing around, but great for hiking. The views were also fantastic, but Bob, Mark and I saw little of them as we whizzed along the trail intent on covering 22 miles in as short a time as possible. The rest of the group may have lingered to enjoy the views. They weren’t so intent on covering miles. After 19 miles Mark and I came to an intersection of the trail with Skyline Drive and decided that we wouldn’t make another masochistic step. Undaunted by our decision to quit, Bob pushed on for Thornton Gap and reached there at about 6:30 pm. Incredibly our unplanned regrouping via car shuttle worked out smoothly and we were on the road by 7 pm.
It should be noted that this intrepid form of hiking is not our usual mode. It was done in preparation for two future “idiot trips.” First, we intend to walk the length of the Appalachian Trail in Maryland in one day (37 miles), and then if we survive that endeavor we intend to revive an old Trail Club tradition – the ANNUAL HIKE OF THE LENGTH OF SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK (95.1 miles in 48 hours.) If we survive that trip which is very unlikely, we’ll find something even more challenging – suggestions are welcome!
First Annual 37 mile Dayhike
On Sunday, April 13 at 8 AM, six of us set out from the town of PenMar on the Pennsylvania/Maryland line with the intention of reaching Virginia before the day was done. Paulette Wood volunteered to meet us at various checkpoints along the way so we only had to carry a bare minimum of equipment (water, snacks, jacket and foot care items). From the beginning there were two groups – the “speedy” group of Bob Enagonio, Mark and myself, and the “slow but steady” group of Karen Loomis, Mark Trent and Roy Hunter.
The results of this endeavor are as follows: Bob crossed the Virginia line at 8:20 pm, I pulled in about 15 minutes behind him and Roy was about 30 minutes behind me. The others were done in at various points along the way by blisters, sore muscles and other assorted injuries (everyone hiked at least 17 miles). All the hikers were in various stages of pain and stiffness. Injuries ranged from blisters (including bloody ones) to hip joints that felt like they were coming out of place, to knees that cried, “Help!” with every step. It was challenging and fun. Really!
Some tips for future attemptees: the slow steady method of hiking with constant attention to foot care will probably produce the least injuries. The speedy method is hard on the feet – if you have tough feet, try it! Consume plenty of water and energy food to keep up your strength. Bring a flashlight, you may have to hike after dark (ask Roy what it was like coming down Weaverton Cliffs in the dark.) Downhill is hard on the knees – any suggestions on how to eliminate this problem are welcome. Frequent checkpoints are helpful, especially for those who can’t make the whole distance because of injuries. Checkpoints are also very tempting places to “quit” – willpower to overcome this urge is essential. Keep on Truckin’.
Thanks to Paulette for her help and her leather sandwich.
EASY EATIN’ ON THE ROAD
Concentrated Rations – Pemmican
Last spring I got tired of eating Lipton dinners and wondered if other compact nutritious trail foods existed. The dehydrated goodies of Mountain House, etc. were overpriced for the small savings of weight and bulk.
Figuring that the Indians, pioneers, voyagers and such didn’t eat Lipton Dinners too often, I did some research to find out just what they survived on. I turned up quite a few rations made from everyday foods that can’t be beat for storing lots of energy in a little weight and space. Pemmican seems the best overall so here is the recipe for the curious and adventurous:
Ingredients for 27 oz of Pemmican
5 lb. Of lean beef (or bear, buffalo, caribou, etc. – no pork)
11 oz of fat (tallow, lard, suet, butter)
Making pemmican is very simple. You jerk the meat, shred it and mix it with melted fat.
In detail: Get meat that is not marbled with fat. Flank steak dries best but any cut will do. Trim off all the fat and save. Cut the meat into strips ¼ to ½ inch thick and dry overnight in an oven on low heat or over a slow fire. It will be brittle when properly dried. Shred the dried meat. The traditional method is by pounding in a skin bag but a blender is faster if you don’t overload it. A mortar and pestle works too.
If the meat isn’t fat free it won’t dry well. Meat that doesn’t dry should be shredded and redried till brittle.
The meat has now been jerked or buccanned (Pirates hustled cattle and dried the meat, hence buccaneers.) The weight of the meat will be about 1/5 it’s original weight.
Take the beef fat and render it to tallow by heating small chunks over a low fire. The liquid is tallow; the rinds left over are tasty if you haven’t burned them. Mix the tallow with more fat to make up about 11 oz by weight. Tallow is best not only for taste but also because it is a hard fat and doesn’t get hands and clothes greasy. In cold weather, grease will reduce the insulating value of clothing. Butter tastes good but it melts out in hot weather. Lard is cheap and easy to get but greasy. Suet is another hard fat.
Take the 11 oz of melted fat and mix thoroughly with one pound of dried, shredded meat. You now have pemmican. Divide it into 12 balls and wrap in plastic wrap. Three balls is a good daily ration, four for more strenuous activity or colder weather. On Admiral Peary’s polar expedition their ration was a pound of pemmican and a pound of bread per day for extreme labor in extreme cold.
Pemmican will keep for months without refrigeration because the fat seals the meat from the air. Water will not affect it unless stays wet for a long time. The only thing lacking nutritionally is vitamin C and this is unimportant for trips of less than a couple weeks.
Since pemmican is ready to eat, there is no need for stove, fuel, cooking and eating utensils; a big savings in time and weight. For variety and to stretch supplies, pemmican can be mixed with flour to make Rubaboo. To make rubaboo, bring two quarts of water to a boil. While kettle is heating, mix in a separate container enough flour into one quart of water to make it look like mush. Add to boiling water in kettle. Stir constantly to keep dregs from sticking and burning. When flour soup is quite done, remove from fire and add one pound of pemmican, chopped into small pieces. Stir rapidly to dissolve in hot flour. This will feed several people.
In pemmican, if a pound of fat per pound of meat is used, the results are survival ration. The taste suffers but the mixture packs the maximum energy into minimum weight. Interestingly, a person feels full as soon as he or she has eaten the correct ration.
All in all pemmican is excellent for rugged trips where time and weight are major limitations.
EX-CLIMBERS TAKE NOTE
If you have wisely decided to give up the dangerous, foolhardy, bourgeiois “sport” of rock climbing, Curt Mobley compliments your intelligence! And furthermore, in order to help you avoid a relapse of climbing fever, he will gladly carry away your old hexcentrics, foxheads, carabiners, and similar inventions of the devil and his capitalist allies. Indeed, he will even pay you the highest imaginable prices for this ironmongery. After all, Jackie just cashed in, so why don’t you?
Call 864-0428 or 454-2708
And here are some scans of pages with graphics. BTW, Rick is the creator of the cartoons, "The Cranberry Funnies."
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