Thursday, September 6, 2007

Black Rock

So I think I've taken this picture before. This is where I start my walks up to the Appalachian Trail. I decided to walk up to the view at Black Rock on my birthday.

It's only been a year, so I hate to think I'm running out of material here. This picture seems vaguely familiar, too. I guess it's hard to see in this picture, but the trail winds up and to the left. It's kind of steep in places. For a trail, anyway.

This is the first in an inordinate number of pictures devoted to a toad I met on the trip up. This game is called spot the toad. Do you see him? I had a hard time finding him looking at the display on my camera. In the end I just pointed it where I thought he was. And, well, he was there, and is in this picture.

This is a closer look at the toad in the first picture.

Different picture. Same toad. Different location.

Once again, a closer look.

This time I think I was the one who moved.

And here is the toad, close-up.

OK, if you haven't been having much luck with spot the toad in the previous pictures, here is your chance.

Closer still.

And still closer. I thought the shadow to the left looked like the profile of a kids head in shadow. If you stare at it long enough, I think you'll see what I mean.

Wildlife abounds on my trip. I saw a good many of these caterpillars, but they were all dead. Except for this one. And it wasn't moving too fast. Now, it could be they weren't dead, they just looked that way. I think the normal life cycle of this bug has it dropping to the forest floor right about now. So the ones I saw may not have been dead, but they certainly were unlucky, then, because they were very exposed.

I believe this caterpillar is an orange-striped oakworm. Its diet consists mainly of--you guessed it--oak leaves. One article I read on the World Wide Web said that these things eat constantly. I might have to adopt it as a mascot.

This is the Pogo Campsite. Or more accurately, a sign declaring that the place I was standing was the Pogo Campsite. It is about half way on my trip to the Black Rock view. This camp site is on the Appalachian trail.

The aforementioned Black Rock view. A sign pointing out which way it is, that is.

This is a campfire at the view. It looks like a well constructed fire. The only problem being that people are not supposed to build fires here.

This is the view from Black Rock, starting at the extreme right.

A little to the left.

A little more.

More to the left.

Almost done going to the left.

OK. That's it. We're all the way to the left now. You can just make out the edge of the lake at Greenbrier.

I tried to take a better picture of the lake.

Looking (way) down, you can see rocks.

Lots of rocks.

Here is another rock. This one has my backpack on it. You may recognize my backpack from such earlier blog entries as: "Tubing on the Shenandoah."

The only cloud in the sky was a man-made contrail. The smudge was not present in real life.

I decided to lay down on one of the rocks to rest. That's when buzzards started to circle me. They are turkey buzzards. This is one flying with its wings in a characteristic V shape.

The wingspan on these birds is just about the same as I am tall, around six feet.

I managed to get a couple pictures that actually looked like the birds were flying. This is one of them.

A view of that bird in more detail.

Here's one sizing me up. I know what he was thinking. He was thinking "Man, I could eat for a week on that thing."

Now, I know these things only eat dead stuff, and I wasn't dead. But I wasn't sure they knew those two things. They can swoop down pretty fast and sometimes they were only 10 or 15 feet above my head, which is close enough, thanks. I think these things might get a little ahead of the game if I were close to expiring. At one point, I know I counted at least 8 of them, all waiting on me to die on the rocks (or get close enough). I made eye contact with a couple of them.

Sometimes scale is hard to judge in pictures. I took this picture from Black Rock. Near the center of this picture is a church.

A picture of the church using the zoom feature on my camera.

A picture of the tower of the church from the ground next to it.

And here is a picture of Black Rock from the ground next to the church. The rocks I was standing on are more or less straight up from the third fence post on the right.

Back up on the mountain, on my way down, I spotted this critter, a millipede.

I also saw this mushroom, which I thought looked like the star of life, so I took a picture of it. I wonder how it wound up this way, and if it is genetic. Somebody probably knows. I don't though.

That's it for my walk up to Black Rock. After a year of blogging away without putting myself in any entries, here's a picture of me. Sort of.

Thursday, September 06, 2007 

Category: Life

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