Ramble On

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bear Fence Mountain: An Easy SNP Day Hike

It being Thanksgiving weekend and all, Mary thought it might be fun to take a little walk in the Park.  Since she had never been before, I suggested we might go over to Bear Fence Mountain and explore it a bit. 

This relatively short trail - the Easy Day Hikes book (Amazon link at the end of the post) has it as a 1.2 mile loop with less than 400 feet of elevation gain, showcases the essential geologic history of the Blue Ridge.  The central portion of the hike, and its highlight, is a rock scramble along the ridge pictured here that is about a third of a mile in length. The mountain's summit is about 3,470 feet above sea level.

The trail to the scramble passes through the Park's signature greenstone and sandstone formations, and transitions to Catoctin basalt at the scramble itself. I prefer to take the loop trail for the opportunity it provides to have a good look at the stony layer from below, and then from being up close and personal during the scramble.

Funny thing along the way - after the initial photo above, my iPhone told me it was out of memory and it wouldn't allow any more photos.  I'll get that checked out, but in the meantime we fell back on Mary's good old fashioned RAZR, which is what I used to use for the blog.  These small format photos are taken with that camera.

This absolutely stunning view looking north towards Tanners Ridge and New Market gap was taken from a view point on the AT a couple of hundred yards south of the scramble. 

Full disclosure:  Mary and I didn't do the full rock scramble.  This trail is one of the better visited ones in the Park - there is even a Ranger Program that comes here (one I'd like to join sometime), so there is a lot of traffic on the mountain.  While the challenges of this scramble don't compare to Old Rag due to its length and the lack of significant elevation change, it does give a good preview of the experience you can expect on that landmark, and the transitions through the geologic layers are the same as what you'll see there.

Here are a couple of mountain portraits of your faithful blogger and his loving wife.

 And here is the Amazon link to the Easy Day Hikes book, if you are interested (hey!  Fourth Edition!)

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