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Loser and Cluck Journal, Part I
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Loser and Cluck discover St. Mary's Wilderness
“The Loser and Cluck Corps of Dishevelment mounted an epic expedition up St. Mary's River Wilderness in Virginia beginning Friday, April 18, and ending Sunday, April 20. Loser and Cluck, Geobeet and Creek Dancer (formerly Cynthia) rendezvoused at a gas station off I-81 and drove down US 11, then over Va. 666 to the road connecting to the St. Mary's Wilderness access road. Though Geobeet had not been there for 20 years, the turns all came back to him along the way.
The Corps of Dishevelment got their gear together and ate a lunch at the parking lot, talking to fishermen who had tried unsuccessfully for some of the stream's famed native trout. Whatever they were using for bait, the native lunkers had none of it and the fishermen went home empty-handed, not the first St. Mary's anglers to do so, and undoubtedly not the last. The Corps arrived at the first ford. Geobeet made it across without mishap, and Creek Dancer scrounged up an extra stick to help her across the ford. She made the trip successfully. At the trail junction, the Corps decided to strike off up the river, intending to camp at the oldest of four manganese mines. The Corps forded the second ford without mishap. They arrived at the big pool below the flume, sitting for a time and gazing at this wonder. Geobeet had photographed former Congressman Jim Olin at the pool when the Virginia Wilderness Committed conducted a tour for the legislator in the early 80s, lobbying for St. Mary's, Ramsey's Draft, and another area in Virginia to be included in the Commonwealth's wilderness inventory.
Above the pool, the Corps encountered the third ford. The water here was high and swift, and the Corps had some difficulty getting across. Geobeet got one leg wet. Above the ford, the Corps encountered the waterfall that is the main attraction of the river.
Already leery of fording the river again, Geobeet looked for a route up to a little plateau and the main trail above. The late Ernie Dickerman, the president of the Virginia Wilderness Committee, had guided the Olin party up the steep hill to the trail in that early 80s tour. But Geobeet could not find the route. The Corps made its way up a talus slide, but found a cliff at the top. The corps tried to work its way around the toe of the ridge, but found a wall of mountain laurel blocking its path. So the Corps turned the other way, but the cliff seemed to continue on. By now the Corps had a little more than an hour of daylight left, so Creek Dancer suggested they give up and return to the trail.
Geobeet agreed, and they turned back downhill. But they were unable to locate the talus slide they had climbed, and instead ended up at the edge of another cliff. The talus slide seemed to be below the cliff, but how to get down.
They sat down awhile to catch their breath and reason things through. Geobeet studied the hills across the creek and determined that they needed to turn to their right. In short order, he found a defile down to the talus slide, and the Corps regained the trail. They went back downstream, and while crossing another ford, Creek Dancer earned her name, getting both legs and her butt wet. The Corps then took the main trail uphill. They found a neat campsite on a bench of land above the creek here and made camp.
It had been raining all day, and the Corps was drenched. They got up Siltarps and the tent, then made dinner.
The night was soggy and cold, but they made themselves comfortable. After breakfast the next morning, the rain finally stopped and the Corps took a day trip up to the latest of the four manganese mines. Geobeet showed Creek Dancer some of the works, and they made their way back to the most recent pit where manganese ore is exposed. Geobeet, fancying himself the geologist of the Corps of Dishevelment, had taken specimens of manganese ore from the pit 20 years ago. Both found specimens to take home. After some more explorations of the works, the Corps went back downhill to get lunch back at camp. The afternoon was great. The sun actually broke out for awhile, and the Corps was able to dry out clothing and gear. After dinner, they turned in and had a warmer night. After breakfast on Sunday morning, the Corps broke camp and began the hike back to the parking lot, snapping photos of the waterfalls along Sugartree Branch. After getting back across the first ford, Creek Dancer stopped to take photos of wildflowers along the trail.
They found bleeding hearts, violets, wild geranium, dogwood, Allegheny serviceberry, sedum, wild azalea, deer berry and some flowers neither could identify.
After getting changed at the parking lot, the Corps set off for their respective homes, another successful expedition under its belt.
The next expedition for the Loser and Cluck Corps of Dishevelment will be Spring on the Sods, starting May 16. Watch the Trips section for news of this upcoming epic adventure.”
“Sounds like a nice trip, Geo. Hope you guys had a fun time...”
“It was very difficult to step out of the wilderness area. I love that place. Creek Dancer also fell in love with it.”
“What a great trail name.
Geo - Sounds like the leg is healing up nicely.”
“It did okay. It's still a little weak and hard to push off on. The weekend will help build it up again. It will still take awhile, I guess. But that was as good a workout as one can get for rehab purposes.
(Those dang rocks aren't very stable, ya know?)”
“Oh, and Creek Dancer picked her own name. She's the best hiking partner I've ever found. Not one gripe while we were stumbling around on the scree looking for a route through the laurel. She did at least half the work in setting up and taking down camp. And a wonderful personality to boot.”
“GEOBEET ON THE TRAIL AGAIN...wow!!..sounds like a blast..now i just need to get out”
“good goin', man! that sounds like a fun trip. so we can all start calling you Loser now? i mean, to your face?
;-) hee hee!”
“LOL Sounds like fun :)”
“and who is cluck?
sounds like a killer hike, i'm jealous.”
“Loser and Cluck, Geobeet and Creek Dancer (formerly Cynthia), respectively.
I gave Creek Dancer the choice and she picked Cluck. Silly Me!”
“how bout cluck dancer?”
“Wouldn't that be "Dances with Chickens"?”
“We're still Geobeet and Creek Dancer, but in the Journal of the Corps of Dishevelment, I'm Loser and she's Cluck, sort of, kinda, in a strange sorta way, vicariously.”
“how were the blowdowns down in that section Geobeet? While you wer down there I was up above y'all finishing off the blowdown removal on Bald Mtn. Tr.
I am thinking about taking a week off and working on the blowdowns on the river trail above Mine Bank Tr. which I know are very bad at this time but I am also wondering how the section below Mine Bank was doing.”
“We did not get as far as the Mine Bank Trail. I don't recall any blowdown on either of the trails we hiked. If anything at all, there may have been one or two that were easily stepped over, but I don't even recall that.”
“Nice trip, although no dinner specifics? (pheasant, wild ostrich, prawns, what??)! Glad to hear the rehab is going well Geo! Don't let up on that leg and remember the four basics;
Rest, Ice, Compression, Glen Fiddich.”
“no no - it has to start with an E - hmmmm Rest, Ice, Compresion, Elvis ???”
“once again, great trip report geo. I am soo glad you both had a wonderful time. Sorry it rained on you both, But i am glad you made the best of it.
sooo where are the photos??”
“It just has to have an E in it, which Glen Fiddich does.
Pastrami sandwiches at trailhead.
Geobeet's chili for dinner Fri night with some cornbread Creek Dancer brought.
Grits & eggs for breakfast, with coffee.
Lunch: Jerky, dried apple, cheese, adventure foods gingerbread (Mmmmmm, good)
Dinner Sat: Adventure Foods baked ziti (Blech is putting it kindly), bagel with cream cheese.
Breakfast Sun: Adventure foods eggsm cheese, sausage, and bread chunks. (Not bad for trail food, but not a four-star menu item)
We're saving the pheasant under glass for a future trip.”
“Photos coming later in the week, if the film wasn't ruined by the humidity.”
“Babble babble bleep snork I got one too and mine's bigger than yours babble babble babble oh yeah, well mine is smarter babble babble god bless america babble babble free mumia now babble babble gott mit uns whistle hum does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost over night yackety yack mine is the bestest one that ever was babble yack my hockey team can beat your hockey team buzz buzz oh yeah, how many stanley cups have they won? chatter chatter Siltarps babble babble babble oh yeah? tents! chatter babble yackety yack!”
“I guess fiddle boy can still cut and paste. He's soooo big!”
“babble babble blah blah invented the internet yackety yack put that in your pipe and smoke it chatter chatter and the horse you rode in on babble babble”
“Really super annoying, isn't it?”
“Hey, those posts made as much sense as the rest of the posts on that thread. Maybe more!”
“You must get a great view looking down from up there Geo ;o)”
“Which thread are you talking about ynamiynami?”
“:o) - the blah blah post, seemed to belittle the people who posted there, including myself. I know it's all just a bit of intellectual masturbation and matters little, but it passes the time and often amuses.”
“I meant the being above the petty postings of others.”
“Do you folks ever read the stuff you post? I mean really read it? Your political threads read like a 14-year-old lunchroom conversation! If you call belittling somebody else's political beliefs intelligent discussion, you're missing something somewhere! What's next? My god's bigger than your god?”
“some how I never thought that "masturbation" would ever make it into a trip report.
“ps, geo I do not want to see anyones GOD.
(geez I can only inmagine what the heck will come from this)”
“And who made you arbitor of this Geo?”
“This is a trip report thread..
play nice boys!”
“"And who made you arbitor of this Geo?"
I'm not the arbitrator, I commented on your insipid comments. If you can't take it, tough! Go back to your pseudo-intellectual name calling thread and show us what a great thinker you are.”
“well I guess I cant play with you boys because i dont pee standing up :(”
“hmmm, I see, so it's ok for you to post your column about Saddam needing a palace, but wrong for other people to make comments about neocons.”
“Go read over the thread. I read about a bunch of liberals and conservatives calling each other names. Post that crap on that thread. This is a backpacking thread. You may have heard something about backpacking once or twice before.”
“and it's ok for you to post crap on someone else's discussion about neocons but not on your trip report.”
“which I thought was quite a nice one”
“With somewhere between 40 and 100 threads active on a given day, it seems you could just ignore the ones you don't like. Seems like that would be the adult and civil thing to do.
Of course if you want to see who can be the bigger idiot...”
“I CAN BE THE BIGGER IDIOT!!!!!”
“I DO NOT WANT TO SEE ANYONES BIGGER IDIOT, GOD,EGO, NOTHING!!”
“One of the few nice trip reports and you guys got to start pissing on it because your feelings were hurt be Geo's "Look at me, I'm so smart!" thread.
Please keep the political crap in the political threads.”
“I dunno Maple, you try and diffuse with some self deprecation, and it's used against you by Judge Geo ;o)”
“As I said above, I think it was quite a nice trip report - admittedly I should have posted this on the other thread - for that I apologize.”
“No Stove, I wouldn't be that childish. He continued to try to shout down threads he doesn't want to read by belittling the posters on that thread.
I've made my point. I still love you Geo, don't worry.”
“Now that scares me!”
“Nice trip report Geo it sounds like you and Creek Dancer had a great time. Good to know your back out hiking.”
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