Sharptop

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dbhguru
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Sharptop

Post by dbhguru » Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:57 pm

ENTS,

Monica’s and my Virginia excursion is winding down. Tomorrow we will head home. However, I thought I’d give a few preliminary trip reports this evening, saving the myriad of details until I’m comfortably settled in my easy chair at home. So here it goes with the first preliminary report.

Our first big event was a climb to the top of Sharptop, one of the two Peaks of Otter in the southern Virginia Blue Ridge. Sharptop is a respectable 3,875 feet in altitude and was once thought to be Virginia’s highest mountain. That distinction goes to Mount Rogers at 5,729 feet, but Sharptop is still very much a favorite.

The shortest route up is 1.5 miles and gains around 1,300 feet of altitude. The trail is extremely well maintained. There are lots of rock steps. It isn’t a hike for folks with bad knees. But the view from the top is awesome. Actually, climbing Sharptop is a religious pilgrimage for some people and visitation is heavy. The first image below shows the summit view, looking northward toward Flattop, Sharptop’s sister peak. Flattop is actually the higher of the two. It is 4,001 feet. It was once called Roundtop.
12FlatTop12.jpg
Swiveling the camera around, I took the next shot looking down and east toward the community of Bedford.
13TowardBedford13.jpg
One of the most aesthetic features of both Sharptop and Flattop is the blend of large rocks and old trees. The trees form old growth communities in the upper elevations. The rock-tree communities can be extraordinary, and for me, were a discovery. The next image shows a typical rock-tree scene going up Sharptop.
02TreesRocksTrail2.jpg
The next image highlights an area of old growth chestnut oak. I haven’t been able to calculate the probable acreage of old growth, but it has to be in excess of 50 acres. I suspect it is more on the order of 65 to 75. I counted over 200 annual rings on several trunks that had fallen across the trail and had been cut. They were the rule rather than the exception.
22IfNotOGThenWhat22.jpg
The last image is an extraordinary scene of a white oak swallowing a rock. I’ll let the image do the rtalking.
07SwallowingTheRock1-7.jpg

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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dbhguru
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More Sharptop

Post by dbhguru » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:08 pm

ENTS,

Here are more Sharptop Images. I call the first two Spirit Rocks.
17SpiritRocks17.jpg
15SpiritRocks15.jpg
The next shows old growth along the trail.
04OGFormsEmerge4.jpg
Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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James Parton
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Re: Sharptop

Post by James Parton » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:15 pm

Bob,

You were awesomely close to NC. I had my daughter last week during the day, if it were not for that I might could have met you. I was on Spring Break vacation.

Your rock-swallowing tree reminds me of this image I took a while back on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

James
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Larry Tucei
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Re: Sharptop

Post by Larry Tucei » Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:40 pm

Bob, Good photos. I really like the rock swallowing the tree. Looks like you and Monica had a great trip. We await you upcoming posts. Larry

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dbhguru
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Re: Sharptop

Post by dbhguru » Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:12 pm

Larry and James,

Lots of stuff to report on. Monica and I will get home tomorrow night, and I'll begin putting it all together. In the mean time, here is an image of a 250 year old chestnut oak that fell across a trail up Flattop Mtn.
MonicaAndFallenOak.jpg
Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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Marcboston
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Re: Sharptop

Post by Marcboston » Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:43 pm

Are there trail systems that link all those named peaks for a ridge to ridge hike?

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dbhguru
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Re: Sharptop

Post by dbhguru » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:39 pm

Marc,

Yes, a trail runs from the top of Flattop to the top of Sharp Top. Lots of sooper dooper hiking. Way cool.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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