Appalachian Trail and Annapolis Rock, Maryland, April 1 – 7, 2022 — This just in: The end is near if seven months away counts. This will be my final season as the PATC ridgerunner lead. After that, Dan Hippe will take responsibility. We want to get it right, so Dan will shadow me until November 1. Then it’s his show.
Dan is a recently retired geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. He has extensive backpacking and outdoor leadership experience. As I told one of my friends, “He will take good care of the troops.” Of that I am certain.
I originally promised five years. We’re now in year eight and new blood is due. It’s also best to get off the horse before you fall off. Not sure that would be anytime soon, but to be fair, it’s time.
Meanwhile Dan has been out there helping as we prepare Kasey Kohlmeier for her season. Here we broke up an illegal fire ring at Black Rock.
If the last is the saddest day of the ridgerunner calendar, then the first is the most promising. The new season is fresh and the possibilities are endless.
We gathered at the recently renovated “barn” to haul the caretaker tent and other gear up to Annapolis Rock. There we spent a couple of days learning the ins and outs of the caretaker’s responsibilities.
The site is up. The sunset spectacular. My new tent is sturdy. The REI-donated tent and the rain tarp survived the strong winds over the next several days. Count success where you find it.
The usual mess at Black Rock. It is a popular spot, mostly with locals.
Hiking back from Black Rock we found an unfortunate man who face-planted, suffering a bloody nose and some ugly wrist abrasions. He passed concussion protocol, so we encouraged him to stop by AR where we patched him up. We also found a heart rock someone had propped against a tree and fresh bear sign. Of course the view of Green Briar Lake never disappoints.
On the way out we destroyed an illegal fire ring at group site 3, locked the tool box, noted damage caused by the ATVs belonging to the first responders and held up our trash collection as a trophy.
After a couple of days off, we were at it again. This time from Penn-Mar/ Mason-Dixon line to the Raven Rock Shelter. The forecast was ominous – two inches in less than 24 hours. But, we got a dry start up the rocky approach to the shelter.
Along the way we cleared six blowdowns, some small like this one. Others in the six-inch class. We stopped at the hot mess known as High rock. It’s county property, not the AT. Someone said it’s a rock with Tammy Faye Bakker make up, a generational reference to a TV preacher couple only a Boomer would appreciate. Of course privy maintenance was front and center.
Stopped at the Raven Rock overlook. Yes, there was a fire ring. Found another spirit tree. Someday I’ll do a blog on those. I have dozens of photos in a folder. Paid homage to a fallen soldier.
The rain pounded the area overnight and as we hiked. In total two inches worth made a river out of the tread.
The stream crossing at Raven Rock Rd. was a bit iffy.
When we stopped at the Pogo camping area we discovered the South Mountaineer trail crew had delivered the prize of prizes. The old pit latrine is GONE! Earlier this week I sent these photos to the 13 people who have previously been ridgerunners in Maryland during my tenure. Nobody cried over this stinking portal to hell. It’s been replaced by a composting privy up hill. Privy photos by Dave House.
Have to own up. I slipped on a wet rock and smacked my hand. It’s all good now, but it hurt like hell at the time.