Annapolis Rock, Maryland, Saturday, May 20, 2020 — We’re back! Today we set up the caretaker camp – pitched the tent and strung the tarps – at Annapolis Rock. In a normal year, this is the first ritual of the season. Obviously this year is different.
The long-season Maryland ridgreunner is the first to start on April Fools Day and the last to finish on Halloween. Aptly chosen dates once one experiences what happens in between, from naivete to the spirits of the dark side. It’s a long season with all that the full range of human behavior has to offer.
Putting together this camp is one of my favorite ways to bond with a ridgerunner. Most years I spend up to four days there working on OJT and otherwise coaching them on how to manage the site. Stringing ropes and setting up tents isn’t fun wearing a mask.
We start with the tent, an REI Big House generously donated by the co-op.
It’s always somewhat of a mystery. We read and reread the directions for each step.
We put a sun tarp over the tent and fly so shade it from the UV so it will last a little longer. We average four years/tent.
“Ok. How do I organize all the stuff in this tool box?
Done. Tarp strung over the picnic table. We’re an all weather operation now.
Some noobs left us a present at the picnic table. Really. You can’t put it in your pocket and carry it out?
Social distancing at the overlook was “iffy” at best. We’re not in the public health business. Hiking is an “at risk” activity. It’s also a pass/fail IQ test. Have at it.
I love irony. The Annapolis Rock trailhead parking on Rt. 40 was recently expanded. In return, the busy highway’s shoulders became no parking zones. The Maryland State Trooper in the circle had more than 30 tickets to write. Yes!
Tomorrow my grandfather’s crosscut saw sees action for the first time since the 1940s. We’ll be tackling some large blowdowns in Shenandoah National Park with this priceless, to me, artifact that has been passed down by my personal hero. Stay tuned.