Archive for March, 2013

Update: RAT Birthday Hike 2009 !

I recently discovered the answer to a question I had about some strange tubing that was attached to several trees and strung out like an alien spiderweb that we encountered on my annual birthday hike back in 2009. Seems at that time no one knew what I was talking about but recently I learned that in the Whitetop Virginia area they use this gravity fed method to collect sap from the many Maple trees found there which drains down the mountain to a catch bin where it is collected and taken to a sugar house where it is then placed into stainless steel containers to be cooked down to make Maple Syrup. The days of using the old tap and bucket method have been replaced by this new high tech way. The local firehouse on Whitetop does this to raise money. I am told it takes 50 gallons of this liquid to make 1 gallon of syrup. I am going to buy a bottle of it this year as they sell it at the end of March each year and I am happy to finally know the reason for the strange tubing in the trees ! As I understand it, they have an annual Maple Festival to celebrate this making of the syrup. It seems the flowing of the sap is triggered by the cold nights and warm days during this time of year which makes it the best time to collect the sap needed to make this wonderful treat. The Mount Rogers Volunteer Fire Department Maple Syrup Festival is the last weekend in March. This year the 24th and 25th.


Strange tubing we seen in the woods after crossing at Elk Garden on our ascent of Whitetop Mountain in Sept. 2009


More of the tubing like a strange alien spiderweb


Close up of the tubing attached to the tree.

Posted on 27 March '13 by , under RATtreks. No Comments.

Squibb Creek Falls – 3-9-2013

There was still deep snow in the upper elevations but with a forecast of 60 degrees and sunshine it was decided that we would attempt a hike to somewhere in the lower elevations. The water levels were up so the destination of Squibb Creek Falls was chosen. It was a cold morning when my friend Bol’Dar and myself left Hairnt-Quarters around 9:30am but the sun was up and quickly warming things up. I recalled my last trip to these falls in early Feb. of 2010 when my son Tyler and I ended up in some very cold temperatures with lots of ice and snow barely making it back before dark due to a late start. The trail was in rough shape then due to several downed trees and deep snow. I was hoping that we did not have a repeat of that.


Squibb Creek Falls


Posted on 27 March '13 by , under RATtreks. 1 Comment.