Friday, April 5, 2013

Into the Appalachians

The Appalachian Trail (AT) was calling my name today.  After finishing class for the day, I donned my boots and hiking gaiters, packed up a camera and gear, and set out to drive west.   The mountains and hills of Loudoun and Clarke County, Virginia were welcomed sights on a warm, spring day.

I set out for a short hike on the AT near Bear's Den.  Bear's Den is a sort of pit-stop for AT hikers and contains a few miles of rollercoaster-like trail conditions.

I trekked towards another piece of property that I am very familiar with out there (which I will keep a secret for now) to set up one of my cameras.

The camera here is set a few feet off the ground, well off the actual footpath of the Appalachian Trail, but still in the same area that I know as, Bluemont, Virginia.

A garter snake came out of its rocky housing to see what my noise was all about and stayed around for a minute or two.
Camera-trap and a garter snake. 

I continued hiking for a few more minutes into a small stream where skunk cabbage was popping out of the ground.

Here is where I conversed with a group of young, "9-to-5-Charlies", that decided to leave the office for a 4 day weekend on the trail.

We did the obligatory, "Hey, how are you?", and the typical, "Where ya headed?", as if nobody had ever asked us these same questions while on the Appalachian Trail.

What was different about this time though, is that I asked them if they've heard any coyotes lately on the trail while sleeping at night.

Their response,  "Of course! Almost every night".  I smiled, nodded, and wished them well on the rest of their hike.

It may take me some time to come back to this location, as it is an hours drive away.  I'll go back there in a couple weeks with some fresh camera batteries and a heart full of camera-trapping hope.

Skunk cabbage.  I can smell this stuff from half a mile away if there is a lot of it.


  1. I live just over the mountain on the Loudoun side. I'll try to record them howling ..there's a healthy population here.

    1. Meredith, thanks for the comment and for stopping by my blog. I would love to hear some recordings if you can get them!
      Also, how often do you see coyotes?
      How often do you see/hear about bears?

  2. Hi Brian, just found your site. Looks like you have quite the extensive setup and have gotten some great pics! I live close to the AT in Warren County. Never seen coyotes or caught them on camera, but I only have one camera set up.

    1. Steve, thank you!

      Coyotes are smart creatures and from my experiences, VERY wary of humans around. They're tricky, but they're around. Have you gotten any bear pictures in Warren County?

    2. Yep, we see bear fairly regularly but none yet this year. Here's a link to my black bear photos if interested: