Thursday, March 29, 2007

An afternoon hike up South Mountain

With a day to myself and beautiful spring temperatures, South Mountain beckoned. The trail head at Greenbrier State Park is just nine tenths of a mile down the road, so I grabbed my camera, a banana, water, and leatherman tool, and simply turned left at my mailbox,and this is the view that greeted me.

With the mountain in the distance you can just see the buds coming out in the trees of the valley.

As if someone called the prop department for a picturesque well...

...or mule barn, for that matter.

A little further up and this chilly brook of melt water passes beneath the bridge.

The mosses check in early.

Less than a mile from home I get on the trail head for the "Big Red" trail at Greenbirer, headed for the lake and parts beyond.

Rocks? Click on this picture to see why recycling is such a good idea.

Sooner than I expected the trail opened onto a wonderful vista of the lake.

At this point I'm thinking; "Shall I head back now, or keep going?"

I kept going. Spring was everywhere, and I was up for a really good hike.

After checking in on the new shoots in the stream that helps feed the lake, I stopped by the visitor center on the far side of the lake to visit my favorite mountain resident...

The largemouth bass in the aquarium.

Outside again I encountered an oriole nest from last year. Orioles make good use of the tinsel, fishing line, and fruit bags that end up dotting the woods.

Oh no! The dreaded Bartman Hill trail. I wondered what I had in mind. This trail is listed as "strenuous", and how! rocky, steep, and often barely discerneable...this thing really had me huffing and puffing 18 months ago. But what the heck, that was also 20 pounds ago. I think I'll give it a go.

Although the Bartman Hill trail is only .6 of a mile, it's all straight up and the footing is often atrocious. It leads to the Appalachian Trail at almost midpoint (sort of) and a pretty fair view of the valley beyond South Mountain.

Rocky trails like this give testimony to the fact that Robert E. Lee had to leave thousands of his shoeless soldiers behind in Virginia when he made his 1862 campaign into Maryland.

This terrain is mighty hard on the ankles.

As the trail starts to level out (finally!) there's nothing but sky up ahead.

And finally we come to the Appalachian Trail. Hmmmm, Maine or Georgia, decisions, decisions.

I opt for a look across the valley from the top of the mountain , catch my breath, and then start the much quicker descent.

Ending up back at the lake and a short break before continuing home. What a perfect afternoon.

Civil War history, and nature abound in these parts.

Ranger Mannie


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the photos, but I am so jealous of the hike while I sit at my desk at work! By the way, I just love old barns. They have so much more character than the generic steel barns and turkey houses of today.
Keep up the blog, we love it.

Anonymous said...

Great post again. The pictures are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I envy you!