Maryland Outdoor Club
Fri, Jul 2 2004 - Fourth of July Camping Trip (View Original Event Details)

Event Organizer(s): Jesse Allen, Rani Gran
Participants:Vincent Tsao, Ted Hellen, Keira Wickliffe, Jesse Allen, Rani Gran, Brian Loughery, Laura Loughery, Shelley Sanner, KC Yi, Christine Di Lapi, Gina Vachino, Jeff Schneider, Christopher Gran, aditi sharangpani, Larakay Anderson, Pamela Silberman

Write Up:
Our group came in gradually over the course of the Friday afternoon to the four campsites Rani booked for us all at Big Meadows in the Central District of the Shenandoah National Park. Our four sites were conveniently right next to each other, though also well in the middle of the campground, so Gina, Vincent, and Shelley chose to hike out to the edge of the campground to hang their hammock tents and set up for the night a little always from the hustle and bustle of the main grounds. Most of the group was on site by dinner time, so many of them went up to have dinner either at the Big Meadows Lodge or at Skyland a few miles up the road.

Meanwhile, back near Baltimore everyone except Jesse showed up early at the carpool location, but he was called in to check on his absence and since everyone but him was there, they set off on their own while Jesse packed and unpacked and repacked his car. In the end, he settled to leave a large box of firewood, a case of beer, and a couple of minor kitchen niceties behind in the interests of getting out to the park promptly. The five of us (Jesse, Brian, Laura, Keira, and Pam) all met up in Warrenton for dinner together at the Ruby Tuesdays there which MOC frequents on our trips. Once fed, we continued up the road to the campground, getting in well past dark, but having no trouble finding the campground and joining the rest of the group. We set up our tents, and even gave them a festive patriotic flair by putting small flags to mark our sites, provided courtesy of K.C., giving the campground a nice appropriate holiday tone for our 4th of July long weekend.

However, not quite everyone was there even when the last of the carpooling campers came to town. Shortly before dusk, Chris, Rani, Larakay, and Aditi decided to go check out Lewis Falls, a nearby waterfall near the campground. However, they met a couple of people coming up the trail as they were about to start who said it would take about three quarters of an hour to reach the falls and it was ten minutes or so to sunset. Plus the trail was a rough rocky steep path down the hillside, not the easy stroll down a paved path they had pictured. Chris and Larakay opted not to go and strongly encouraged Rani and Aditi to leave it for daylight, but they felt strongly and headed off down the trail together, flashlights in hand.

By the time the carpool people arrived well past dark, and had their tents set up, it had been at least two hours since the waterfall expedition went off on their own, so Chris and Jesse decided it was time to head down the trail in search of them. Our fear was that one of them might have twisted or sprained an ankle and not be able to get back out under their own power. We hiked all the way down to the falls and partway up the other side of the loop trail before finding Rani and Aditi on the trail huddled up together. It turned out that one flashlight was running quite low on power and the other gave up quite suddenly, and they immediately stopped while they were still on the trail, realizing that in the dark, they had no way to find their way up and be certain they were on the path. So wisely they chose to stay put for the night and try to come up the rest of the way after daylight in the morning. But they were pleased to see us and we were pleased to have no cause to open up the first aid kits we brought down with us.

After a nice hike up the path past the lodge, we all got into the campground where everyone but Ted had sensibly gone to bed, trusting that either we would all show up on our own or need rescuing in daylight, but there was no point in waiting up or sending more people down if we did not show up promptly.

So after a shorter than intended night of sleep, everyone got up and finished such introductions as w

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