Archive for the Hikes Category

Loudoun Heights Megalith Fort

Posted in Loudoun Heights Hike with tags , , , , , , , on August 18, 2011 by Drogo

Atop the ridge of Loudoun Heights Mountain, VA towards the north-east, on the north side of the ridge overlooking Harpers Ferry, WV; is an amazing structure of boulders. Large boulders form 10′ walls around a 12’x12′ pit on the top of a mountain, resembling the ruins of a lost, ancient rock fortress built by magic; at the very least a unique natural wonder. There was a fern growing in the center of the pit. I shot film from the floor of the fort, 360 degrees around the inside walls; as well as from the outside of it. Rocks from the Citadel flow down the mountain-side for hundreds of feet, and a giant log bridges the lowest base boulders.

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Loudoun Mountain Ridge Trail

Posted in Loudoun Heights Hike with tags , , , , on August 16, 2011 by Drogo

Some of the trees I saw were black walnut, oak, and poplar. There was an undergrowth of pawpaw; and a ground cover of dead leaves (all year), dead wood (all year), ferns, poison ivy, strangle-thorn vines (2 types), wild mint, wild oregano, etc…

Oddly small white limestones run around the base of some tree trunks. Perhaps they were placed there by fairies or humans, or upon growing the tree pushed the ground around it up through the leaves.


Stone ruins of a Civil War fort sit atop Loudoun Heights Ridge Trail, just as they do on Maryland Heights Ridge Trail; but on Loudoun Heights the ruins are smaller and made of smaller stones. I once camped up here in the rain by myself.

Towards the north-east the path is overgrown by pawpaws. After several minutes of pruning, I was able to clear a hole through the foliage. I used finger snapping, and stick whacking on the branches.

Then the Ridge Trail is threatened by strangle-thorn thin-stem vines, and other thorns (raspberry and thick-stem thorns). Strangle-thorns of the thin-stem variety have odd shaped leaves resembling pale-green wild bean vines. The Orange Trail High End Ridge junction is here.

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Mountain Top Sign Post

Posted in Loudoun Heights Hike with tags , , , , , on August 15, 2011 by Drogo

At the top of the mountain

Three AT signs on one brown post. At the top of the mountain, the ground is littered with rocks. Overlooking the Virginia side, there may be felt a breeze on an otherwise still day. Although not a tourist destination, like the Heights’ cliff overlooks, sitting on a rock or log there is reward enough. Also in the Winter there may be a view in both directions.

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Camp Clearing (Orange Trail)

Posted in Loudoun Heights Hike with tags , , , , , on August 14, 2011 by Drogo

Large Level Camp Clearing

Orange Trail Low End Camp Junction (loop connecting white trail to blue)

Long ago I camped here with friends New Years Eve of Y2K. During the Winter at night you could see through the trees to the Town Lights below. If civilization was going to collapse because of a technology glitch, we wanted to see it happen from a safe distance. It is the same thinking I had after 9/11 because if there are terrorist attacks, the last place you want to be is in population centers.

The clearing is large enough for several tents. There is a fair amount of small rocks and logs around, but it is mostly dirt. One medium sized stone is set above the flat area. The loop for the Orange trail starts running along below the campsite.

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Rocky Road Trench

Posted in Loudoun Heights Hike with tags , , , , , , on August 13, 2011 by Drogo

Civil War road, trench, and gutter

It diagonally crosses the Appalachian Trail on Loudoun Heights just up from Chestnut Hill Road. I think it is a trench that doubled as a supply road and canon trail up the mountain, and by default acts like a mountain brook gutter. Also I know there are more recent logging trails on mountains.

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Chestnut Hill Road

Posted in Loudoun Heights Hike with tags , , , , on August 11, 2011 by Drogo

Crossing the Road

Chestnut Hill Road connects Route 340 between the Bridges, to the communities on “the mountain”; wrapping around to Route 9 through Virginia. You have to cross the road to get to the next part of the trail, that’s why I used it as the junction in my story where the soldiers enter the woods to find the outlaws. It is an unpleasant reminder that we are subjects of the industrial machine. Simply crossing a road can get you killed.

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Climbing the Hill

Posted in Loudoun Heights Hike with tags , , , , , on August 9, 2011 by Drogo

Moss Rock Falls, Outpost Hill

The new bridge construction (a few years back), improved the entry to Loudoun Heights. As I crossed under the bridge, I saw the familiar huge tree stump down by the river, still sitting there like a picnic table. Nettles and raspberry bush thorns plague the massive stone steps up to the plateau. New trees were planted on the plateau, but most have died so it is dominated by meadow plants; and of course big-leaf burr plants line the path so their seeds pods can cling to passing hikers.

A massive stone marks the beginning of Loudoun Heights Trail, like a strange transformer robot in hibernation. The dark grey limestone boulder has horizontal striation, in a suspicious pattern. Next up the trail are fern-topped rocks, moss covered stones, and a cliff of both with a small water-fall mountain stream crossing the path. It once flowed clear, but now it barely flows at a trickle.

After a couple of switch-backs, the trail arrives at a small clearing near the top of Outpost Hill, sometimes used as a campsite. Faeries live on and in this hill, with hidden treasures. Just beyond, along the trail are large trees, and a huge fallen pine log across a brook.

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