Sunday, May 13, 2012

Return to Ramsey's Draft: May 10, 2012

Negotiating a stream crossing.
Back at Ramsey's Draft Wilderness Area (topo map) for the 4th time in the past several weeks this week, as the PATC's Southern Shenandoah Valley Chapter scheduled another trail maintenance trip - this time mid-week.  We all had seen a photo from a few weeks ago indicating a part of the trail to be in really tough shape due to blown down trees, though that part was so far from the trailhead that we pretty much knew we wouldn't make it there.  (Here is an account of one of those work trips:  http://patc-charlottesville.blogspot.com/2012/05/ramseys-draft-worktrip-april-21-2012.html.)

No matter!  The trip allowed me to give back a little more to the maintenance of an area devastated by an invasive insect species.  The trip also provided me with the opportunity to hike a portion of trail I'd never experienced before - the Ramsey's Draft Trail between the Jerry's Run Trail intersection and the point where the Left Prong and Right Prong of the Draft meet.  This is the same place as the topo shows the road ends.  But there hasn't been a road here since around 1985 when a big storm washed it all away.  (Part of the fun of walking this trail is figuring out where the road must have been, which is not always an easy thing to do.)
Some stiff obstructions on the trail.

It was a beautiful day to be out on the trail - a cold front had come through the night before, replacing seeming days of constant rain with blue skies.  But it made each stream crossing a treacherous adventure.  I have to face the truth - this time of year, it is just about impossible to make it too deep into this wilderness without experiencing wet feet.  I got them on the way out.

We opened up several areas to the original trail, each of which had grown a separate trail around the obstruction.
The end of the road - literally!
This campsite is at the point where the original road ended and trail began.
It was a 9.1 mile round trip to get to this point,
and there were at least 7 stream crossings each way.

The biggest disappointment of the day was seeing trash remaining in nearly every campsite fire pit along the trail.  This wilderness is such a beautiful and fragile place, but apparently many backpackers using the area don't care enough to clean up after themselves.  Shame on them!  Next time you are hiking back here, don't forget the plastic garbage bag to clean up after the jerks who camp here.

Thoughtless hikers leave tin cans in the fire pit.
Even more unbelievable is the half burned box
for a mosquito coil.  Ignorant hikers didn't even know
that mosquitos aren't out yet this time of year.

A pair of half melted cooking tongs left at this fire pit.

A plastic soda bottle, partially melted, adorns this fire pit.

1 comment:

  1. Cool post and good on you for getting out an volunteering. I need to do more of that. Looks like is was a great day for a cleanup. Cheers!

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