Fri, Oct 12 2007 - Signal Knob Camp & Hike (View Original Event Details)|
Jen A, Joe John
|Participants:||Jen A, Joe John, Kimberly Engle, Cynthia Hildenbrand, Chuck Hildenbrand, Clement Hey, Kevin Yue, Kathleen Nase, Mike, Tom Reichelderfer, Glenn Peddicord, Dan DeVries, John Meagher, Saki Saki, Norma Broadwater, Jackie Putman, John Putman, Alyssa Voss|
We began our trip Friday night with a huge campfire, plenty to drink and lots of laughs. Although, our adventure actually began earlier in the day when we received an early morning call from the Park Ranger to let us know that a campfire restriction was in effect as of Saturday. Since we had a six-foot fire pit and plenty of wood for the weekend, we decided to make the Friday night fire count. To get to know each other, we played the "Five Words or Less about Yourself" game. After some prodding, pleading and convincing, we went around the circle and discovered some very interesting things about each other. For instance John M is 'Scuba-Fly,' Aly is a Red Socks fan, Dan is a pyromaniac (ok he just really, really likes fire), Tom always "saves the day," Joe was dubbed as the assistant to the organizer, and let's not forget that Glenn wants to be (or is) related to Pocahontas (or both). Later that night Mike showed up and dazzled us with his masterful guitar technique. Bedtime was later than usual that night since everyone wanted to enjoy the fire.
Ron, Saki and Norma joined us early on Saturday morning. By 10:45, we were ready to go on the Signal Knob trail. Cynthia and Jackie opted to take a different hike that day. Later they told a frightening tale of a bloody mass on the ground and a wild-eyed man holding a chainsaw nearby. Naturally, this was enough for them to turn around and take a different trail. Unfortunately, the next day most of the group did that same hike and one of the dogs promptly ate the evidence. The legend of the Signal Knob Chainsaw Man lives on.
The rest of the group walked about .25 miles to the beginning of the Signal Knob loop and then took a few photos. We then proceeded to conquer the 10.6-mile Signal Knob loop by starting with a solid pace. Fortunately all of the adventurers on the trail were fit and well equipped, so we made good time. It is safe to say that there were no slobs on the knob that day.
A group (see the "boys in the woods" picture) decided to push the pace a bit to get a good workout. Once we reached the Signal Knob at about mile five, we took a nice lunch break at the scenic overlook. The trail took us downhill before we had to head up a steep climb that gained 1,000 feet in 0.7 miles. At the top of the second climb we took another break and head count before heading out.
We got back to the campsite around 4 p.m., and started dinner (fajitas and tuna pasta) shortly after. After learning of the fire restrictions, we hastily assembled a fleet of propane grills to help us cook dinner - a plan that definitely worked out for the 19 hungry campers. Joe was informed that he was a good assistant helper to the organizer that night.
Kevin broke out his handy-dandy telescope, and the majority of the group hiked back to the main parking lot to check out the stars. We saw many satellites and even a few shooting stars. Maybe some of our wishes will actually come true! The telescope was a great idea with the no-fire policy in effect on Saturday in the GWNF and worked well with a late-rising moon. As we gathered back at the campsite, we placed Jude's propane lantern in the middle of the fire pit.
After a good night sleep, 13 hikers and all four dogs headed out on a short but scenic 3.4-mile hike. The hike was easy but consisted of five to six trail switches. The hike ended with a creek crossing that we deftly handled. We nearly missed our last turn that was concealed but Ron was able to spot it while Joe was saying "the turn should be around here somewhere." Kudos to Ron for helping us avoid getting lost. A few of the group headed out after the hike, while nine of us went to a late lunch in Front Royal for delicious Mexican food and a few final laughs before it was time to say good-bye!
Saki did a great write up on his site that we invite everyone to check out: