Blackrock Hut and Hike
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pic00001ATBlackrocks.JPG
pic00001ATBlackrocks.JPG

This trail is the Applachian Trail. It goes from Springer Mountain, GA to Mt. Katahdin in Maine. This section is in Shenandoah National Park and is called Blackrocks. Massanutten Mtn. is seen in the distance.
pic00002PaintMkViewBlakRocMassanut.JPG
pic00002PaintMkViewBlakRocMassanut.JPG

This is more or less the same view as pic00001. The Applachian Trail is normally marked with white rectangles painted on trees. Here there are no trees so the trail mark is painted on a rock. I have seen a few places like open meadows where posts have been errected and had the marks painted on them. A single mark like this one means the trail goes more or less straight. If the mark is a double mark then it means that trail has a turn ahead.
pic00003BlakRocView.JPG
pic00003BlakRocView.JPG
pic00004GnarledTreeBlackrocks.JPG
pic00004GnarledTreeBlackrocks.JPG

Anyone who has lived at high altitude or in the desert west knows what wind can do. This tree has been shaped by its somewhat harsh location on the edge of a mountain.
pic00005KnarledTreeBlakRoc.JPG
pic00005KnarledTreeBlakRoc.JPG

This is another view of the previous tree. Although now dead this tree forced itself up between these rocks and based on the trunk size was once a good size tree in spite of the harsh location that finally killed it.
pic00006Flowers.jpg
pic00006Flowers.jpg

When hiking one usually needs to watch their footing, especially in the mountains. Some may say you miss stuff being careful like that but had I not been looking down I'd have missed these Bluets.
pic00007SouthtoBlackrockHut.JPG
pic00007SouthtoBlackrockHut.JPG

Wow! Although this hike was beautiful the cause of this unusually lush growth of Mountain Laurel may have come from the additional light coming through the forest roof because of moth damage to the hardwoods.
pic00008trailmarkerBlakRoc.JPG
pic00008trailmarkerBlakRoc.JPG

This is a variation of other trail markers. The black symbol is the Appalachian Trail symbol and means that at this intersection of another park trail the AT goes straight.
pic00009LaurelBlackrocksAT.JPG
pic00009LaurelBlackrocksAT.JPG

This hike was beautiful. Not good for my allergies but beautiful :-) I was hiking most of the day in a tunnel of Mountain Laurel.
pic00010Flowers.jpg
pic00010Flowers.jpg

What is this? I've never identified it. It appeared to look a little like snap dragons but it was growing in a tree like a vine and the blossoms were clustered.
pic00011GrassHopperLaurel1.JPG
pic00011GrassHopperLaurel1.JPG

This Mountain Laurel has a grasshopper on it. I marked it for easy viewing. Look at the next image. Do you think you would have see it as you walked by?
pic00012GrassHopperLaurel2.JPG
pic00012GrassHopperLaurel2.JPG

The grasshopper is still on the same blossom. There is a single dot of red on the right side of the image. I guess I did that during the processing of this image. It is not meant to mark anything.
pic00013ForkinAT.JPG
pic00013ForkinAT.JPG

In one of the Muppet movies Kermit and Fossy Bear are driving along following written directions that call for a turn at a "fork in the road" and there is a huge fork standing up in the intersection. This was a trail intersection with one smaller trail going down to the Blackrock Hut shown in images 14 through 19. And, there was a FORK laying in the intersection :-)))
pic00014BlakRocHut.JPG
pic00014BlakRocHut.JPG

This is the exterior of an Appalachian Trail Hut. These huts have been built about a day's hike apart all along the trail and open for use of "thru-hikers". Thru-hikers means several days or more.
pic00015InBlackrockHut.JPG
pic00015InBlackrockHut.JPG

This is the interior of Black Rock Hut. Hikers must furnish their own bedding. They sleep either on the floor or the raised shelf. It is normal to be visited by mice and other small animals at night. They can damage stuff like a nice sleeping bag and do keep some people awake running aroung. Snorring can be another problem. I snore and have had other hikers complain during the night to point that I moved out onto the lawn if it wasn't
raining.
pic00016BlackrockHutLog.JPG
pic00016BlackrockHutLog.JPG

This is the hut record book. Each hiker is supposed to make an entry about almost anything but mostly trail and hut conditions. This book was interesting because of the signature, "Patch". I met a tall man with a beard who was in his 50s or 60s earlier in the day. He was obviously a special guest because he was being shown around by a Park Ranger, a Nat. Park Service big shot, and the A.T. club's "Ridge Runner", a sort of security guard that travels back and forth over a short segment of the trail during the season. These guys appeared to be impressed by there charge. Patch... adams, M.D. maybe? The guy looked a little like pictures I seen of him on his web site.
pic00017BearProofBlakRoc.JPG
pic00017BearProofBlakRoc.JPG

This is a "bear pole". They are installed at all huts. Hikers put their food in a bag and hang it on the pole which is well away from the sleeping area. This helps to prevent bear/hiker disagreements over food. Black Bears, which do live in the park can under the right circumstances be dangerous. Food is one of those circumstances.
pic00018DeerBlakRocHut.JPG
pic00018DeerBlakRocHut.JPG

Deer were EVERYWHERE around this hut. This one is eating next to the side trail that goes to the outhouse
.
pic00019DeerBlakRocHut2.JPG
pic00019DeerBlakRocHut2.JPG

This is an area near the hut where hikers have camped. Camping outside the hut is against the rules. It happens, as I mentioned about my snorring, but it is discouraged. Note the deer eating in the shadows.
pic00020MyCampLoft.JPG
pic00020MyCampLoft.JPG

This hike was not an overnight hike. I camped at the Loft Mountain Campground. This is my campsite.
pic00021YoungBuckLoftMt.JPG
pic00021YoungBuckLoftMt.JPG

More deer. This is the same animal as shown in the next image. He is a young buck. He was along the road leading from Skyline Drive into Loft Mountain Campground
pic00022YoungBuckLoft2.JPG
pic00022YoungBuckLoft2.JPG

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