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July 17, 2012 [LINK / comment]
Hiking into St. Mary's Wilderness
On Saturday, Jacqueline and I went for a quite rigorous hike in the St. Mary's Wilderness, about 15 miles southeast of Staunton. We had been there only once before, and that was before the area was devastated by Hurricane Isabel in September 2003, making it all but inaccessible. This time, ironically, there was also quite a bit of damage in the wake of the freak "derecho" wind storm which we endured at the end of June. (About twenty years ago I went backpack-camping in the upstream portion of St. Mary's Wilderness, with my brother John and then-roommate Mark.)
The trail head is a little hard to find, but there were already several cars in the small parking area, evidence that it is a popular recreation spot for folks in this area. The St. Mary's River passes through a steep forested canyon, with plenty of shade and a few scenic views, as seen in the montage below. What makes it difficult are the frequent river crossing and large rocky areas, requiring careful steps and sturdy hiking boots. As we began, it was cloudy, but later on the skies turned clear blue, just perfect for taking photos. Jacqueline and I finally reached our destination, the St. Mary's Falls, where we encountered a dozen or so youths (and a few dogs) cooling off in the river. After resting and munching on snacks, we headed back. We covered about four miles altogether, I estimate. There were hardly any birds that day, but we did see a swimming reptile that I later identified as a Northern Water Snake. It's a non-venomous species, but it can be aggressive and does bite. To my surprise, there were hardly any mushrooms either, but the scenery made it a very rewarding day in the great outdoors.
Montage of scenery from St. Mary's Wilderness.
More photos from that hike, and one of the track side of the Staunton train station, are on the Summer 2012 photo gallery page.
Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 17 Jul 2012, 10: 06 PM
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Hits on this page (single blog post) since July 2, 2007:
Culture & Travel
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This (or that) year's
January 3, 2012 ~ Campaign 2012: All eyes are on Iowa
January 9, 2012 ~ Superdome (name and diagram) update
March 24, 2012 ~ Spring (or is it Summer ?) Training 2012!
April 1, 2012 ~ Goodlatte faces challenges from the left and the right
April 17, 2012 ~ Nationals start 2012 season on a winning note
June 11, 2012 ~ Bird breeding season is here!
June 24, 2012 ~ Strasburg wins his sixth in a row
June 19, 2012 ~ University of Virginia's president forced to resign
June 28, 2012 ~ Supreme Court upholds Obamacare (But why?)
July 17, 2012 ~ R.I.P. Cliff Fretwell (1938-2012)
August 14, 2012 ~ Baseball road trip 2012: Chicago & Cleveland
September 1, 2012 ~ Vacation 2012: travelogue and photos galore!
September 10, 2012 ~ Nats come stormin' back, get a BIG win
September 14, 2012 ~ Paul Ryan visits the Shenandoah Valley
September 19, 2012 ~ It's fall bird migration season!
September 20, 2011 ~ Humala is inaugurated president of Peru
September 25, 2012 ~ Nationals get back at Brewers, twice
October 12, 2012 ~ Romney wins the debate, cheers the Valley
October 13, 2012 ~ Deja vu: The Cardinals do it again
October 30, 2012 ~ Deja vu: Giants are World Champions, again
November 7, 2012 ~ Decision 2012: Obama wins by a clear margin
November 12, 2012 ~ U.S. Congress to remain divided (and stalemated?)
November 25, 2012 ~ Stadium comparison page updates
December 22, 2012 ~ End of the world? Not yet!
December 24, 2012 ~ Sunshine state mass update
December 24, 2012 ~ New Anglican archbishop named
December 31, 2012 ~ Are you ready for some (postseason) football?
Blog highlights have been compiled for the years 2010-2012 thus far, and eventually will be compiled for earlier years, back to 2002.
The "home made" blog organization system that I created was instituted on November 1, 2004, followed by several functional enhancements in subsequent years. I make no more than one blog post per day on any one category, so some posts may cover multiple news items or issues. Blog posts appear in the following (reverse alphabetical) order, which may differ from the chronological order in which the posts were originally made:
- Wild birds (LAST)
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- Culture & Travel
- Canaries ("Home birds")
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Also see: My blog practices.
Blog errata (Nobody's perfect.)