Als ich wisse das Morgen der Erde enden wuerde, immernoch wurd ich mein Apfelbaum pflanzen.

Even if I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. - Martin Luther

"Factory work's easier on the back, and I don't mind it, understand, but a man becomes what he does. Got to watch that. That's why I keep at farmin' although the crops haven't ever throve. It's the doin' that's important." Madison Wheeler in Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Falls Ridge: Hiking in the George Washington National Forest

It's a chilly morning here.  The wood stove is heating up, and the coffee is brewed.  The sky looks like snow, and I'm dreaming (and hoping) for the day when I'll look up toward the mountain and won't be able to see it because it will be covered by a snow storm cloud heading our way. 
The mountain has had snow once this fall already (result of Sandy).  So, a few days after that storm we hiked to the top.  We had a great time playing in the snow, and a taste of what (hopefully) is to come. 
The Falls Ridge trail is one of our favorites.  We almost never see anyone else out there.  It's got great views.  It's fairly short (4 miles) and we can usually do it in a few hours.  It's steep so you also get a great workout.
To get there find the town of Jerome, VA.  When you see the church turn right onto Dellinger Gap.  Follow that road to the end (it will turn to dirt).  Cross the creek and you'll see the trail.  Follow the Fat Mountain Trail first, then head up the mountain to Falls Ridge.  There is a short spur trail halfway up the mountain that takes you to the falls.  Eventually you will make it to the top of North Mountain and the junction of the North Mountain Trail and the Stack Rock Trail.  Stack Rock can be followed down if you want to make a loop. 
Our kids are used to hiking steep trails so this is a good choice for them, but this is probably not the best choice for little kids or ones who aren't used to hiking.  

Farmer Dan, Soccer Boy and Reading Girl create a cairn to mark the trail.

The woodsman on the steepest part of the trail.

View of the village of Jerome, VA



Getting Daddy!

American Chestnut burr
My Dad was really excited to find this American Chestnut burr.  He said that the trees don't usually grow big enough to produce seed pods.  Maybe they will eventually come back from the blight.

American Chestnut Tree and Leaf

At the top

Another View of the village of Jerome