Posts filed under ‘Mount Rogers’

Dog Owner’s Carabiner

During our recent backpacking trip to Mount Rogers, Virginia, Ryan Somma needed a means to secure our four person (or two person, two dog) tent to his backpack. A carabiner would have been helpful.

Carabiner – Would have been handy (Photo by dpit Media V2)

But– Ryan didn’t have any on hand. His girlfriend may have…ahem…broken his on the way to Spy Rock last April. : ) But Ryan found something else that worked great– Henry the Beagle’s retractable leash. Because it was a leash, we were able to wrap it around the tent numerous times. And because it was retractable, we were able to adjust to the exact length we wanted. It worked out great!

Mount Rogers Backpacking 2009 - Camp - Dog Owner's Carabiner
The Tent is Attached, Courtesy of Henry’s Leash

So dog owners, if you are ever in a pinch– keep that retractable leash in mind. Though, I certainly wouldn’t recommend retractable leashes to be in your first string of backpacking equipment.

They’re too heavy. : )

June 17, 2009 at 5:00 am 2 comments

Weekly Winners – June 7 – June 13th, 2009 – More Mount Rogers

Like last week, this week’s selection also comes from Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and Grayson Highlands State Park, Virginia. This is the second day of our annual backpacking trip. Enjoy!

Mount Rogers Backpacking 2009 - Wilburn Ridge Trail - Jimmie Admires View
Jimmie Admires View at Wilburn Ridge

Mount Rogers Backpacking 2009 - Wilburn Ridge Trail - Henry Jumps, Ryan Walks
Henry and Ryan in Action

Mount Rogers Backpacking 2009 - Wilburn Ridge Trail - View 2
View from Wilburn Ridge

Mount Rogers Backpacking 2009 - Pine Mountain Trail - Fog and Rhodos
View (and fog!) From Pine Mountain Trail

Mount Rogers Backpacking 2009 - Wilburn Ridge Trail - Jimmie on Wilburn Ridge
Jimmie on Wilburn Ridge

Mount Rogers Backpacking Trip 2009 - Camp - Jimmie Looks Out Tent
Jimmie Looks Out Tent

Also, be sure to check out more of this week’s Weekly Winners out at Sarcastic Mom!

June 14, 2009 at 8:50 am 5 comments

Mount Rogers: Pony Reunion?

On Saturday Ryan, Jimmie, Henry and I encountered a pair of ponies Mount Rogers National Recreation Area on the Appalachian Trail. Last year on the same hike, PassionPhish, Bill and I encountered a mother and foal with similar markings.

Rhododendron Gap - Baby Pony and Mama Pony
Ponies, June 2008

Mount Rogers Backpacking Trip 2009 - AT - Matching Ponies
Ponies, June 2009

Looking back at 2008 pictures, the markings of the one of the left are pretty similar (but far from perfect) to the male foal we saw last year. The 2009 version does have spots on its back and butt the 2008 foal was missing. Also there is a white hook on his shoulder that wasn’t there with the 2008 foal. Did I have a reunion with a pony I met last year?  I guess it depends on how much a pony’s markings can change as it ages.

Pony - Then and Now?
Baby Pony 2008, Pony 2009

Either way, it was a pretty neat case of deja vu.  : )

More pictures of Mount Rogers ponies can be found on my Flickr site.

June 9, 2009 at 6:00 am 3 comments

Weekly Winners – May 31 – June 6, 2009 – Mount Rogers

Welcome to another late edition to Weekly Winners! I’m tardy again with good cause! I spent the weekend backpacking with my boyfriend and dogs at Grayson Highlands State Park and Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. The area is known for its wild ponies and the beautiful rhododendrons that bloom in early June. Mount Rogers was as picturesque as usual and we could not have asked for a prettier weekend. Enjoy!

Mount Rogers Backpacking Trip 2009 - AT - Rhodos and View
Rhodos Off the Appalachian Trail

Mount Rogers Backpacking - AT - Henry Scouts Out View
Henry Scouts Out a View

Mount Rogers Backpacking Trip 2009 - AT - Gray Pony Looks Back
Ponies at Mount Rogers National Recreation Area

Mount Rogers Backpacking 2009 - AT - Pine Tree Field
Field at Mount Rogers National Recreation Area

Mount Rogers Backpacking Trip 2009 - AT - Ponies and Rocks in Grayson Highlands
Ponies at Grayson Highlands State Park

Mount Rogers Backpacking Trip 2009 - AT - Rhodos Surround Rock
Rhodos at Grayson Highlands State Park

Mount Rogers Backpacking Trip 2009 - Pine Mountain Trail at Sunset - Jimmie Looks Towards Camp
Jimmie Looks at Rhodos Off Pine Mountain Trail

Mount Rogers Backpacking Trip 2009 - Pine Mountain Trail at Sunset - Sunset and Evergreen
Sunset From Pine Mountain Trail

More pictures of our Mount Rogers Backpacking Trip can be found on my Flickr site. Also, be sure to check out more of this week’s Weekly Winners out at Sarcastic Mom!

June 7, 2009 at 9:53 pm 7 comments

Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition: I’m In!

I heard last Friday– I got a photo selected for exhibition in the Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition!  A shot of Paul, PassionPhish and Bill is going to be included in the Adventure Category.

Campsite - Paul, Thomas, Bill
Supper on Mount Rogers

The photograph will be on display with the other finalists in all the categories at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts in Boone, North Carolina from March 6th – June 6th.  The judges will review the matted and framed work and pick the final winners.

There will also be a People’s Choice Award running from March 6th – March 27th.  Voting will take place at the Turchin Center as well as online.

I’ll certainly keep you posted. In the meantime– I’m thrilled 🙂

February 2, 2009 at 8:00 am 7 comments

Rhodo Photos by Tony

In February, I posted some Mount Roger pictures by my friend Tony Airaghi. The very last picture I shared, he was experimenting with the color accent feature of his camera. On our recent trip, Tony once again put that feature to use on Mount Rogers- this time to take pictures of the rhododendron blooms. I love what he ended up with:

Long live the color accent mode!

June 26, 2008 at 8:00 am 2 comments

Bloom Compare: Mount Rogers

Here are three pictures taken at Rhododendron Gap at Mount Rogers. The first was by me on June 7, 2008. The second one was by Nick from the Roanoke Outdoor and Social Club on June 14, 2008. The last one was taken by PassionPhish on June 16, 2008.

June 7, 2008 – All green

June 14, 2008 – And now there is pink (Photo by Nick)

June 16, 2008 – Still pink (Photo by PassionPhish)

June 25, 2008 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

How Fast Can I Post About Mount Rogers?!?

Okay. Been busy. Been real busy. And I promise to be busy for the rest of this month. But, I do need to revel in how awesome Mount Rogers was. So let’s see how fast I can get through this.

Time: 9:25 PM.

Our Crew
This year, we had 5 people in our crew. Tony Airaghi and Paul Ely went up Friday night. Meanwhile, Bill C, PassionPhish and I (oh yeah and Jimmie) hiked up on Saturday.

Our crew – Bill, PassionPhish, Jimmie and Me. (Photo by PassionPhish)

Saturday afternoon, we joined up with Paul and Tony at the campsite.

Paul blows on the fire while PassionPhish and Bill watch

It seems I pick up a food souvenir from every hiking partner. When I pack an avocado, I think of Tony Airaghi. When I pack an orange, I think of Mike E. And now, whenever I pack a big block of extra sharp cheddar cheese, I’ll think of PassionPhish. That was by far the most addictive dish (and we had smores ingredients with us!!!!). I could not get enough of that cheese. And when it got warm… it looked nasty, but it was even MORE delicious.

We were a little early in the bloom cycle for the rhododendrons. But that was good news because it meant the Roanoke Outdoor and Social Club, who was hiking the following weekend, got to see the peak blooms!

As we hiked to camp via the Pine Mountain Trail, I said to my companions, “Well… maybe by tomorrow they’ll open up a little more.” I was just being optimistic. I didn’t really believe there would be much of a difference between Saturday and Sunday, but there was! We hiked the same trail back and lo and behold there was a stunning difference.

Second Day Blooms

Second Day Blooms

Baby ponies were as cute as usual.


Okay. Well, I just recently watched a recent Jessica Piscitelli story on YouTube where she describes the fear she felt one camping trip when she heard a “bear”.

I had a moment of my own at Mount Rogers. In the middle of the night I woke up and could hear a bunch of coyotes yelping around to each other. They seemed awfully loud, so in my mind they were pretty close. I never reached the point where my fear had me call out to my companions. But I definitely laid awake a while, wide-eyed, monitoring the situation. And actually, I was not afraid for me. I was worried this vicious pack of coyotes would decide that Jimmie was particularly appetizing. And what was my beloved dog doing during this imminent attack? He was curled up at my feet, sound asleep, oblivious of any danger. And perhaps the dog knew best because I never heard any more from the coyotes.

When we were on Wilburn Ridge, we walked single file southbound on the Appalachian Trail. Suddenly a giant buzzing cloud passed to our right. It was so substantial and so loud, it didn’t seem real.

“Was that–?” Thomas uttered.

I pointed and said, “Bees?”

The cloud continued its way south. Suddenly the swarm took an abrupt left turn, right in to a couple of northbound hikers who promptly started doing a skin-crawling jig and swatting session. Alas, the couple did get stung. In retrospect, I wish that I had yelled out something, but I was so dumbfounded at the bees, I really did not digest the danger.

The two northbound hikers, after their bee attack

Emetophobe No More
Saturday evening, Paul and I were chatting with the father of the next camp over. The father is a mountaineer. Last year he climbed McKinley and this year he will be climbing Siula Grande. His stories were just fascinating, but as he talked I did notice something peculiar behind him. One of his young sons fell ill by the campfire. At first, I thought the kid was just spitting. The second wretch, it became clear it was not saliva exiting his lips. And by the third bout I interrupted the father and pointed.

“Uh…. your boy is sick.”

That boy went to bed shortly after that and the next day he was up and at ’em, climbing rocks and looking cute. So all ended well.

Which would not have been the case 7 years ago. That incident would have easily sent me in a tailspin. I would have spent the rest of the weekend worrying and thinking about all the germs on my hands. I may have cried and wanted to go home immediately. Whereas now, I can sit around the same fire, listen to stories and cook smores. So all ended well.

See all better already! Nothing to worry about!

Sunset and Smores
The seven-year old daughter of our mountaineer neighbor was not afflicted by her brother’s illness, so Tony, Paul and I spent a lot of time with her. We were the first people to expose her AND her mountaineer father to smores. I’m not sure if the father cared for the concoction or not, but the daughter asked for seconds! I think we may have also taught her another lesson. At dusk, Tony, Paul and I were heading to a rock on the Lewis Fork Trail to watch the sunset.

“Why would you want to watch a sunset?” the little girl asked.

So with permission from her parents, we took her with us.

Tony, Nikola and Paul wait for the sunset.

The colors and views were absolutely gorgeous. I can’t be certain, but I think she may understand the appeal now. 🙂

Sunset at 8:42 PM EST

Sunset at 8:55 PM EST

This was the third June in a row where I’ve made a trip down to Mount Rogers. I don’t intend for the streak to break. It’s a great trip and I will look forward to next year!

More pictures of our Mount Rogers trip can be found on my Flickr set as well as PassionPhish’s Flickr set.

Time: 11:27 PM

June 24, 2008 at 10:28 pm 6 comments

Cherry Blossoms vs. Rhododendrons

This weekend, I went up to Washington, DC to check out the National Cherry Blossom Festival. As you can expect, the cherry trees were gorgeous. It’s a close call, but if I had to chose a favorite explosion of pink and white blooms– I would go with rhododendrons (particularly the concentrated ones found at Mount Rogers National Recreation Area). It’s the rocky mountainsides covered in pink and green that tip the scale for me. Plus, there are less crowds. 🙂

But you are welcome to form your own opinion. And to assist you on that quest, here are some side by shots.

Cherry Blossoms Rhododendrons

Need additional data to consider? There are more pictures of the DC Cherry Blossom Festival AND the blooms of Rhododendron Gap on my Flickr account.

April 6, 2008 at 3:11 pm 11 comments

Mount Rogers in February

Two weekends ago, Tony Airaghi and pals did their annual cold weather backpacking trip to Mount Rogers/Grayson Highlands.  Tony got some amazing pictures of the trip.  Here are my favorites:


Apparently Leave No Trace does not apply to Christmas decorations.  Wild ponies are in the background.

Tony playing with “Color Accent” mode.  Hiker is Tony’s cousin Bruce.

Unfortunately, Tony keeps his photos on a private FTP site, so I can’t send you a link to more photos. I have decided that he needs to join Flickr.

That’s my personal project of the day.

February 20, 2008 at 9:21 am 6 comments

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