During coffee, Ann went in search of another, closer hike involving a waterfall and she found the Falls Ridge hike on HikingUpward, the sister hike to our recent Laurel Run hike. I didn't really care where we went so I gave a quick OK without checking out the hike and the corresponding elevation profile, which had I done might have set off some alarm bells. I don't care so much about grueling climbs (Annie calls me Mountain Goat) but long climbs are tougher on her than they are on me.
Hastily, I made some sandwiches for lunch and we got our daypacks packed and hydration bladders filled. In my groggy state, I was really lucky that I didn't forget anything. We got away from the house around 8am and headed south on I-81 towards Woodstock.
My earlier cramping told me that I was no doubt dehydrated and my electrolytes were out of kilter. I took two antacid tablets to get some calcium in my system and we made it a point to stop in Stephens City (Sheetz right at the exit ramp; easy on, easy off) to get some Gatorade and a breakfast biscuit. I hate Gatorade but it has its place. Still, it took me all day to drink the bottle and I had to wash it down with water each time I took a drink.
From Woodstock, we headed out towards Wolf Gap but took the turn to Liberty Furnace before heading up into the mountains, ultimately arriving at FR 252. I read on HikingUpward that the gate on FR 252 would be closed and that we should go in a back way, but not being familiar with the back entrance and being super-tired, I decided to just head up to the gate and take my chances. It was closed and so we road-walked the two miles to the beginning of the official hike, hike number 27 for us this year, and the two miles back after for a total of 10.9 miles for the day. The road walk wasn't terrible as there was no traffic to spew dust everywhere and we were really familiar with it from our recent Laurel Run hike.
|FR 252 Closed|
|Our Loop Hike|
|Walking In, North Mountain in Background|
|Brown-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta|
|Common Heal-all, Prunella vulgaris|
|Butter-Plate Sized Queen Anne's Lace, Daucus carota|
|White Campion, Silene latifolia|
|Woodland Sunflowers, Helianthus divaricatus|
|Common Chicory, Cichorium intybus|
|Bumblebee on Thistle|
|Pale-spike Lobelia, Lobelia spicata, Everywhere|
|Bee on Wild Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa|
|White Snakeroot, Ageratina altissima|
|Wasp on a Goldenrod, Solidago spp.|
|Rattlesnake Weed, Hieracium venosum|
|Tree Canopy Forming a Tunnel|
|Still Life with Red Leaf and Coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara|
|Tulip Poplar, Liriodendron tulipifera, Leaf Holding Rainwater|
|Rainwater on Milkweed, Asclepias spp.|
|New Redbud, Cercis canadensis, Foliage|
|Who Lost This?|
|Wineberry, Rubus phoenicolasius|
|Pounds and Pounds of Unripe Blackberries, Rubus spp.|
|Annie Feasting on Blackberries|
|Unripe Blue- or Huckleberries, Vaccinium spp.|
|Whorled Coreopsis, Coreopsis verticillata|
|Tiny Red Oak, Quercus rubra, with Lots of Galls|
|Cairn Marking Waterfall Trail|
|Brand New White Blazes|
|Annie Traversing Boulder Pit to Falls|
|Falls are Not Very High|
|A Blessed Relief from the Heat|
|Indian Pipe, Monotropa uniflora, Near Falls|
|A Salsify, Tragopogon spp., Seed Head|
All in all, our hike amounted to 10.9 miles, 6 of which were road walk and 4 of which were beastly up hill. Although a welcome respite from the heat, the small waterfall was probably not sufficient payoff for all the work, especially now that in the summer, there are no views from the top of the Stack Rock Trail as there are in the winter.
We were hot and tired when we arrived home to stand under the shower. Sleep came very easily Sunday night.