Andrew Clem home
Andrew Clem banner

Blog post

Monthly archives
(all categories)

August 19, 2016 [LINK / comment]

Mountain hiking on a hot day

Rather than suffer in the scorching heat afflicting the Valley lowlands, Jacqueline and I drove up to Shenandoah National Park last Sunday and went hiking in the mountains. The temperatures were probably 5-10 degrees lower, but it was still very warm in the sun. Fortunately, the Appalachian Trail was well shaded for most of the way. If I had paid closer attention to the topographical map, I would have realized that we had to climb about 700 feet from the parking area at Blackrock Gap to Blackrock itself. Well, we needed the exercise. One of the trail signs was misleading, causing us to waste a few minutes. After resting and snacking, we headed back along an old track which parallels the AT for a ways. (I made a separate blog post about the birds we saw that day.)

Blackrock trail, view

The trail at Blackrock, with a view of the Shenandoah Valley.

Even more mushrooms!

Last week (August 8) I added a montage of mushroom photos that I had originally taken on July 1, 2015. There's probably many more in my collection that I haven't identified yet... Anyway, Jacqueline and I saw quite a few mushrooms along the Appalachian Trail during our Sunday hike, of which the most impressive was a small, frilly purple mushroom which I identified as Ramaria Fennica. So, for the third time this month, I have updated the Mushrooms photo gallery page.

Mushroom montage 14 Aug 2016

Mushroom montage, North Mountain, July 1, 2015. Roll your mouse over the image to see an enlarged view of the Ramaria Fennica. Other species yet to be identified...

Visit to Swannanoa

After hiking in the Shenandoah National Park, Jacqueline and I visited Swannanoa Palace for the first time. It is located about a half mile south of Rockfish Gap, where the hawk watch is now getting underway. The Dulaney family, which owns the historic property (as well as the Afton Inn, at Rockfish Gap), holds occasional visiting days, and August 14 was the last opportunity until early September. It was every bit as impressive inside as I had imagined, and the marble and woodwork were simply exquisite. I plan to post several more photos from the interior and exterior in the next few days...

Swannanoa Palace 2016

The front side (east) of Swannanoa Palace.

Swannanoa Palace was built in 1912 or so by Major James Dooley, who had served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. But he and his wife Sally May passed away during the 1920s, and the property was bought and the adjoining land was made into Swannanoa Country Club. In 1944, A.T. Dulaney led a group which purchased Swannanoa, and in 1948 the palace was leased to Walter and Lao Russell, the founders of the University of Science and Philosophy, a kind of New Age movement before its time. See Their lease expired in 1997, and since then the palace has been in a state of limbo, in desperate need of repair and renovation.

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 19 Aug 2016, 10: 59 PM

(unformatted URL)

This post is over a week old, so comments are closed.

© Andrew G. Clem. All rights reserved. Your use of this material signifies your acceptance of the Terms of use.

Hits on this page (single blog post) since July 2, 2007:

Category archives:
(all years)

This (or that) year's
blog highlights

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:

  1. Wild birds (LAST)
  2. War
  3. Science & Technology
  4. Politics
  5. Latin America
  6. Culture & Travel
  7. Canaries ("Home birds")
  8. Baseball (FIRST)