Rockbridge Outdoors - Taste & Savor

Main discussion area is here. Reply to a message to continue a discussion thread, or create your own new Topics.
Veeferguy

House Mountain

Postby Veeferguy » 2008 Nov 24 09:54

For those of you who have been up the trail to Big House Mountain.....or will be. After the hike up to Big House, you are rewarded with beautiful vistas of the valley below and then there is that old block building built by the gas company years ago with the old chain link fence stacked alongside that really detracts from it's surroundings. Is there anything the RACC can do about this or the House Mountain Committee? The trail for the last 200 yards or so is just about impossible to get a vehicle up there to remove the debris field. I've even thought about addressing someone from VMI since they run their new students up the hill every year and ask if every kid can bring a cinderblock back down the hill with them. I'm willing to take my sledge hammer up there to start the process. I ask every hiker I see up there to put their comments on the hiking upward.com website http://www.hikingupward.com/OVH/HouseMountain/ so when I go before the RACC, that I may have some ammunition in words to back me up. Maybe if the Rockbridge Advocate took up the cause, we could get the eyesore off our mountain. Does anyone feel there is a better way to get the pile rolling down the hill?


:help2: :help2: :help2: :help2:

User avatar
Wise One
Posts: 1957
Joined: 2007 Nov 02 09:33

Re: House Mountain Eye Sore

Postby Wise One » 2008 Nov 27 20:02

Your suggestion sounds appealing to me, Veefer. I have been all over House Mountain on and off the footpaths, over the decades, even taking my family to the summit and to the big rock overlook at the right hand side (viewed from Lexington) of Big House Mountain last Christmas day.

I cannot believe I missed it, but I've never seen the feature you describe. Would you be more specific about where it is? I usually hike up Big House from Tom Black's cabin, but have also scaled the opposite side via the saddle. I have never climbed Little House.

It seems likely to me that RACC would support the removal of an eyesore that is out of keeping with this natural treasure. Sadly, Royster Lyle, a force behind protecting House Mountain from development, is no longer with us to help. We encountered him there a few years ago on one of our hikes.
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

Veeferguy

Re: House Mountain Eye Sore

Postby Veeferguy » 2008 Dec 10 14:58

I'm surprised you have never seen it. According to locals I've talked to, it has been up there since the 60's. Do you hike up the normal trail that extends from Saddle Ridge road? :shock:

User avatar
Wise One
Posts: 1957
Joined: 2007 Nov 02 09:33

Re: House Mountain Eye Sore

Postby Wise One » 2008 Dec 10 15:16

My most frequent route is from Tom Black's cabin, at the foot of the front of Big House, around here.

I didn't realize there was a path up the other (west) side from open field in the saddle ... I've always just barged up the hill, sometimes a little rough going through all that brush.
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

User avatar
mountain
Posts: 5
Joined: 2008 Dec 12 22:35

Re: House Mountain Eye Sore

Postby mountain » 2008 Dec 12 23:03

I think you have Big and Little House Mountains confused. The location on your map is at the base of Little, not Big, House Mountain. You can't miss the old cinder block building.

User avatar
Wise One
Posts: 1957
Joined: 2007 Nov 02 09:33

Re: House Mountain Eye Sore

Postby Wise One » 2008 Dec 12 23:46

You have my head a-spinnin'. Since childhood my pals and I have called the eastern mountain, the one closest to Lexington, "Big" House Mountain. The one with "Student's Rock" about halfway up the middle.

Evidently I've been wrong ... so I have to switch terminology.

So where, exactly, is the offending structure?
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

User avatar
mountain
Posts: 5
Joined: 2008 Dec 12 22:35

Re: House Mountain Eye Sore

Postby mountain » 2008 Dec 15 08:47

Head up the trail from Saddle Ridge Road off Jacktown Road. From the Saddle, signs point to the trails to Big and Little House. Near the top, the Big House Trail will take you within ten feet of this building.

Anyone know why the gas company had a structure up there in the first place? Seems odd.

Veeferguy

New Road on House Mountain

Postby Veeferguy » 2009 Sep 29 08:59

Trail Head Lane will replace the old Saddle Ridge road designation leading up to the House Mountain Trail. Saddle Ridge road took a turn to the left several years ago when another house was built thereby the change was made due to a law in the county stating that no more than two houses could be located on any private road. When I had applied for a building permit, I was told that we needed a road name. I was also told that the new name could not have a similar name like Saddle Ridge Trail or House Mountain Trail etc. Since the trail head board is located on our property and people are always asking us where the trail starts, we thought it would be appropriate to name the road Trail Head Lane to give some sense of direction to the many hikers that walk the road. The road will remain closed to vehicular traffic as before and will be open only to foot traffic with the exception of land owners gaining access to their properties. Parking for the House Mountain trail will be located at the turn around where a sign “State Maintenance Ends” is posted. Hikers are ask to park their vehicles along the left side of the road as you are headed up to the turn around leaving room near the turn around for school busses and delivery vehicles to maneuver their vehicles. I have also spoken with several members of the RACC about installing signage to clearly mark the direction for hikers. The trail itself is a excellent hike and has a Appellation Trail type bunkhouse located in the saddle for overnight camping. On a clear night, the view of the night sky is nothing short of spectacular. More information on the trail can be found on the web at http://www.hikingupward.com/OVH/HouseMountain/
So dust off your boots, grab your camera, and spend a day on the mountain. The new Trail head Lane terminates at the white gate where you can read more info about the hike. Happy Trails to you.

Veeferguy

Re: House Mountain Eye Sore

Postby Veeferguy » 2009 Sep 29 11:36

It's been awhile since I made this post. I was wandering if anyone has heard about what the gas company plans to do with the old cinder block building on Big House Mountain. Thanks

User avatar
Clarke M
Posts: 5
Joined: 2011 Jan 24 21:30

Rockbridge Outdoors - Taste & Savor

Postby Clarke M » 2011 Jan 24 22:04

Underground Applachia

Who knew that amazing scenery and breathtaking views were buried beneath tons of soil just off Route 60 near Covington, VA? Today, I went with my geology class to measure the height and width of cave sections, investigate clues pointing to the cave's formation, and enjoy geology you could literally walk through. Not to mention crawl through. It felt good coming over the boulder strewn mouth into the depths of the cave as the temperature settled out to a comfortable 55 degrees. As I learned, caves remain a constant temperature year round. Moving deeper inside we found geologic formations known as "scallops", divots scoured into the rock about the size of your fist, formed by the erratic currents of rushing waters. Here is hands on learning, I thought, as I ran my hand over the cool, moist undulations in the limestone.

After a half hour more of scrambling, climbing, slipping, and squishing through pools of crystal spring water we made our way to the final room in the cave. Cutting off the headlamps we all reveled in the absolute blackness of the ultimate chamber. Then it was back to business, tracking the swift stream flow that carved through the rock heading towards the back wall. A fellow student scaled more than thirty feet up the mud slickened planes of limestone to bring our measuring tape to the cave roof. His voice cascaded down the sides when he finally shouted from the top, and the LED light seemed a puny resistance to the gloom surrounding him. More courage than I have, I thought from the safety far below.

After sketching cross sections of the cave's structure and dodging comatose bats on the walls we made our way into the lower passage, a narrower, wetter parallel to the top path. This route followed the stream that ran along the cave's bottom and shuffling through with my hands above my head trying to miss the hook-like rock formations that snared my soaked pants, I felt a certain kinship with the scouring fluid around my ankles. Pressing forward while pausing to take pictures with an increasingly muddy camera and make less impressive sketches, we found ourselves shivering slightly as the wintry gusts swept through the mouth into our passageway. We had reached the end of the cave. While I thought I would be happy to see the end, I found myself soon missing the maternal warmth and alien beauty of the passageways. I knew this would not be my last stab at spelunking.
Living in the Blue Ridge offers unceasing opportunities to enjoy the natural wonder around us. One of the greatest gifts the region, however, is the surprises it holds. And sometimes, those are right below our feet. So the next time you think about climbing a mountain, maybe try crawling beneath it instead.

User avatar
Wise One
Posts: 1957
Joined: 2007 Nov 02 09:33

Re: Underground Applachia

Postby Wise One » 2011 Jan 24 23:48

Ah, you bring back memories. As a boy in Lexington I spend many a day, and a few nights, underground in the many caves that come with the karst geology of the region. There are many caves within about 15 miles of Lexington, bicycle range, and I think I saw all of them.

My favorite was also the closest, Cave Springs just off the Maury just a mile or so west of town. It was large enough to be interesting, with wonderful stalactite/stalagmite formations, a large formation of stone that looked like a hanging fabric. We called it the "organ pipes" because tapping it in different places caused different musical notes to resonate. Another huge formation of white calcite was called "the white elephant," who knows why?

It also has a large stream flowing through it in its lower chambers. You could almost see the stone being carved through before your eyes, but of course you'd have to wait centuries to really see something change.

Cave Spring's entrance, I hear, is boarded up and plugged with concrete by its liability-fearing landowner, to keep adventuresome teenagers out. It's just another case of the goddamn lawyers ruining life for people human enough to want to experience Nature personally instead of just watching it on TV.

:coffee:
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

User avatar
Crux
Posts: 3206
Joined: 2010 Dec 16 19:44

Sure they weren't the the LURID Caverns, west of Harrisonbur

Postby Crux » 2011 Jan 26 10:37

Clarke M wrote:Who knew that amazing...and breathtaking views were buried beneath... Today, I went...to measure the height and width of...clues...and enjoy...you...

It felt good coming over the...mouth...the depths of the cave...a constant temperature year round.
Moving deeper inside we found geologic divots...about the size of your fist, formed by the erratic...rushing waters. Here is hands on learning...as I ran my hand over the cool, moist undulations...

After a half hour more of...slipping, and squishing through pools...we made our way to the final room in the cave...we all reveled in the absolute blackness of the ultimate chamber...the swift stream flow...the...slickened planes.

His voice cascaded down the sides...he finally shouted...seemed a puny resistance...from the safety far below...

...we made our way into...a narrower, wetter parallel... a route...that ran along the cave's bottom and...my hands above my head trying to...hook...my soaked pants...

I felt a certain kinship with the scouring fluid around my ankles. Pressing foward while pausing to take...ourselves shivering slightly as the...gusts swept through the mouth into our passageway.

We had reached the end of the cave. While I thought I would be happy to see the end, I found myself soon missing the maternal warmth and alien beauty of the passageways. I knew this would not be my last stab at...unceasing opportunities to enjoy the natural wonder... One of the greatetest gifts...is the surprises it holds.

And sometimes, those are right below...you...


...or did you plagiarize from The Song of Solomon? :angel5:

crux (forgive me...)

You wrote a nice piece! I just couldn't help (ONLY) removing certain words...to tell...an alternate...version. MY BAD!

PS...I hope you enjoy her again and again...like it was...the very first time...

User avatar
Clarke M
Posts: 5
Joined: 2011 Jan 24 21:30

Re: Underground Applachia

Postby Clarke M » 2011 Jan 26 15:34

Wise One, thank you for your memories. It is a shame that caves are becoming less accessible, and that some amateur explorers would choose to degrade our natural resources rather than steward them. It was discouraging to find batteries, metal debris, and cigarette butts in the deepest passages of Island Ford. As for the one you mentioned just off the Maury, I'm not sure if I have explored that one, but I know I have been in a cave near Beans Bottom. It was beautiful, although with the rising waters from the spring rains my group and I were not lingering to enjoy the amazing formations.

User avatar
Crux
Posts: 3206
Joined: 2010 Dec 16 19:44

Thanks Clark

Postby Crux » 2011 Jan 26 15:50

I am glad you didn't get too upset with my wandering mind. Thanks... I have only been caving a couple times, and to tell the truth, being down there makes me a bit nervous. In middle school oddly enough my class went to a cave. Like, wear old clothes, bring flashlights, hardhats provided...crawl and even slink on your belly through shallow clefts....OOOOOO.

Made me more than a bit nervous. I worked for a man in the county here who had a cave entrance to a VERY extensive system. I remember him saying, it had been followed for, 3 miles? Anyway, the entrance was in a sink hole, and he had stumps and earth from his house construction dozed into it...

I though, Geez, wouldn't it be better to have crafted an iron gate and locked it or something, so that folks who wished, could still access the system?

Good for you.

crux

User avatar
Clarke M
Posts: 5
Joined: 2011 Jan 24 21:30

Re: Underground Applachia

Postby Clarke M » 2011 Jan 28 16:29

Crux, that is a shame about the cave entrance to the extensive system. The good news, I suppose, would be more magnificent caves are still being discovered. Even in this month's National Geographic one of the feature articles covers a gigantic new cave recently explored in Vietnam. Make sure you check out the pictures from the piece online, as the size and majesty of the caverns is unbelievable. Also, because it is newly discovered, rare geologic features such as "cave pearls" remain untouched. At the end of the day, however, we are in Lexington, not Vietnam, and have to work to protect those precious local wonders we have. Thank you for sharing your experience.

User avatar
Clarke M
Posts: 5
Joined: 2011 Jan 24 21:30

Night Running

Postby Clarke M » 2011 Feb 01 23:29

While running through the county certainly seemed attractive in the daytime, when it came to the prospect of trotting through foggy darkness I found doubts pricking up like gravel from my heels. The route would be no different: run from in town on 60 West until Borden Road, take a left and run the winding, hilly way up to the tip-top with the fabulous view of the city. Then again, what about all those coyotes the maintenance men had been talking about? As my mind wandered back to his account with seven wild dogs prowling in a field, I began to feel my hamstrings and tendons tingle with anticipation of canine teeth... But this is melodrama, I thought. Nothing will go wrong.

Running at night makes me faster. Maybe it's something about the blackness ahead hiding the tough challenges, or maybe it's the added adrenaline from shadowy trees dotting the path, but as I huffed my way up the long hill toward the ruins I found the pavement sliding past me faster than usual. Turn onto Borden Road, all good so far. The streetlights were generous with there pumpkin orange light. No need, yet, for the supremely nerdy headlamp I was sporting atop my sweating brow. Passing the Lime Kiln entrance, however, meant I was leaving the city, and with that boundary went the street lights. Suddenly every leaf rustle became a hungry, yellow-eyed coyote, just waiting for a juicy snack. As my imagination began to keep pace with the steady thump of my footsteps, I began to enjoy the calm night around me. Cozy houses with their lights seeming to wish me good speed, a kind lady checking her mail to spur me up the bend. Before I knew it, I had reached the final stretch before turning onto the road up to the residential hilltop. No cars were coming, and my weak headlamp seemed a poor defense at the heavy darkness and thickening fog. Finally, my shoes crunched on gravel as the pavement yielded to the driveway, and I was almost to my goal. Looking back over the whole city and the Blue Ridge beyond, I felt a rush of kinship with the whole community laid out below. Running in Rockbridge is always a good decision, I suppose. Even at night.

Veeferguy

Re: Rockbridge Outdoors - Taste & Savor

Postby Veeferguy » 2011 Feb 02 13:53

Don't forget we have a great hike just a short 7 miles from town. The House Mountain hike is actually two great day hikes in one. The saddle has a nice shelter, fire ring, and a privy to boot. As for the caves beneath it....I hope I find an entrance some day.

User avatar
Wise One
Posts: 1957
Joined: 2007 Nov 02 09:33

Re: Rockbridge Outdoors - Taste & Savor

Postby Wise One » 2015 Jul 01 14:48

This is disturbing. My family contributed to the preservation of House Mountain years ago when they were putting together the public/private partnership that has been so successful in preserving the Nature that exists on House Mountain.

The state agency part of this has gone power mad, has kicked out RACC which put the whole thing together in the first place, and evidently has plans to "develop" it to become a ruined remnant of what it is now. They'll conduct logging operations, build roads and other facilities, and destroy the essence of one of the few shreds of Nature remaining in Rockbridge County.

RACC's press release is attached below. Let's mobilize against the state and put this back in proper form.

:coffee:

RACC VOF HM Resolution PR 6-30 final.pdf
(113.82 KiB) Downloaded 94 times
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."