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Coming Soon!!!!! We have recently received 24 of these stunning brushed cotton caps. Starting this weekend we will be placing them along our route as we hike (one per hike). They won't be hidden so should be rather easy to find. We will also provide waypoints for you folks that are into geocaching. As we "plant" our presents to you we will add the hat photo to the appropriate hike link and will also add it to this list of hikes with  "active" hats. If you find the hat send us an e-mail telling us when and where you found it. Send us a photo and we'll post your story on this site.

Please don't forget to notify us so we can take it off of the "active" list.

Hikes with Free Hats

Pocosin-South River Falls SNP/VA

Bucktail Tr-Halfmoon Lookout GWNF/WV

Long Mountain Loop w/Bushwhack GWNF/WV

Stony Man-Nicholson Hollow Loop SNP/VA (Found 04/09/06)

Fishers Gap-Pinnacle Picnic Area Shuttle SNP/VA (Found 04/09/06)

Chuck Keiper Trail - East Sproul SF, PA

Long Pond Backpack Green Ridge SF, MD

C&O Canal/Long Pond Shuttle Green Ridge SF, MD

Allegheny Front Trail -West Loop, PA

Falls Ridge - North Mt Loop, GWNF, VA

Laurel Run - Falls Ridge Loop, GWNF, VA



    Stony Man-Nicholson Hollow Loop SNP/VA (Found 04/09/06)

  In early April, I was spending a quiet, reclusive weekend by myself at the Skyland Resort in the Shenandoah's.  I had left my beautiful wife and three wonderful children at home and packed a bag with my camera and gear for day-hiking, and drove out to Skyland on Friday.  I really hoped to be able to take in some of the trails that are kept so well in the National Park.  But, the weather was cold and rainy and I didn't know if I was going to venture outside the cabin at all.  I've weathered some pretty rough outdoors before, but I wasn't in the mood to be wet to the bone.  I had a few good books and was set to settle down for an undisturbed weekend.  Saturday was so foggy that I could barely see across the parking lot.  I don't think the temperature got above 42 degrees that day. 

      On Sunday I woke to a clear view and better temperatures.  So I put on my hiking boots, packed the necessary first-aid kit, snack foods, rain gear, and camera gear and filled my camel water bag with fresh water.  Having no real destination in mind, I started walking toward the tallest peak in view.  I followed the road to the trailhead signs for Stony Man

Trail,   an easy trail that is well marked.  I discovered quickly as I stepped that my past strength and energy had left me, probably years ago after I left Arizona where I loved to hike the desert southwest, the Santa Catalina's and the Chiricahua's.  I stepped back my pace a bit to match my 36 year old computer consultant body, and continued up the trail to the summit.  I was hot and slightly winded as I came around the corner and noticed the bag containing Midatlantichikes hat taped to the tree.  I had been picking up other people's trash for the last two days and at first site I thought someone had gone to new lengths to not have to be burdened with the trash that they had brought onto the mountain.  However, I was pleasantly surprised when I read the card and freed the hat from its prison. 

      I proudly donned my new headgear and continued the very short distance to the summit.  And when I arrived, I was glad to have an extra covering for my head.  When I stepped onto the peak, I was assaulted by a constant bitter wind.  The wind was so cold that the water that was left from the previous days rain was iced over in the puddles.  Flows of ice were created from the run-off on the north side of the face.  My new hat served well, in keeping the wind off of my head. 

      The fog and clouds of the previous day were gone and the view was miraculous.  I was able to reach out and renew my own spirituality as I encountered the wonders of our earth.  We truly do live on one of God's greatest creations.  Iíve provided a few of the pictures from the trail.

      Later that day, I also hiked on the White Oak Canyon trail to the lower falls.  Another very beautiful hike.  And a great ending to a weekend designed to help me clear my head and get in touch with my own sense of reality. 

Thank you for allowing me to share my story. 

Dion Stempfley