Wednesday, February 22, 2012

We Climbed a Mountain

During Saturday evening no snow fell yet the weather reports still threatened us with an elusive snow storm which would disrupt everybody. It was only to be a couple of inches which wouldn't cut off anybody but would still thwart many peoples' plans including ours, which were to scout around Richmond for abandonments. We'd got a few places to visit lined up and were going to leave Richmond late so we could also get some good night shots. By late Saturday afternoon, the trip was postponed until March 11th leaving some of us at a loose end and frustrated. Emily, Huguette and I decided to hike on Sunday if the weather permitted and so we went to bed with plans to chat again in the morning.
There was still no snow in the morning yet still the weather reports called for a storm. We all agreed we weren't stopping indoors so we went hiking instead. They both came to my house and then we drove locally to climb some mountains.
We met a guy finishing the hike as we parked and being the only car there we knew we'd have the trail to ourselves, a rare treat. We set off onto the trail which immediately began to climb quite steeply. This was a shock to the system as I'd been imagining a nice leisurely stroll through the woods. We plodded upward climbing 500ft in about half a mile, all of us chugging and puffing like old steam engines. We stopped a few times but plugged away at the hill grateful when we reached the top and paused to enjoy the view across the valley.
The trail was easy once we'd got to the summit and we followed an old stone wall stopping now and then for photos. Huge rock faces were laid bare by erosion and small clumps of fungi were the only splashes of color among the dead leaves and bare branches. Huguette found a load of curly hair on the floor. We couldn't decide if it was from a fox , a fur ball or what. It was clumped together but was curly and black. Huguette amazed Emily and I by picking it up and sniffing it then holding it to her face as though a mustache. Emily looked faintly repulsed but I was secretly impressed. We gave up trying to ascertain what the hair was from and continued hiking, coming across more huge rocks and a stream.
We met two people who had arrived after us and were following the trail from the other direction. They commented that they'd seen a woman and a dog, she was lying down at the abandoned house and they thought she seemed a little strange. We walked further up the hill and came to the house but there was no one there. We stopped to take photos and then approached the building, exploring all around the outside and then inside. On Monday evening I was checking my photos and was surprised when I noticed an image in front of the open door, look below...
It looks like someone in a white coat standing in an open door, yet there's no way I saw this when I took the photo. The door was shut, as in the first house photo, and the three of us were all observing the house as we approached. We would have commented if we'd seen someone. And, the door was locked. We tried it from the outside then we entered the house from the back. I tried the front door from inside and managed to slide a bolt but the door was still locked. I've contacted Emily and Huguette since then and neither of them saw anyone or heard anything, nor do they have this on any of their photos. We were all close together and taking photos within seconds of each other. I definitely never saw this on my camera when I looked at the image to check the lighting was correct. It was suggested that trash was hanging in the tree but I would have spotted that easily in the bare branches as it would have obstructed my view of the house which I had on a short dept of field focus, purposefully blurring out the branches in front. Very strange. So, is it a ghost? I haven't found anything on line yet about this building but more research is definitely needed. You'll notice that I don't name the park or area we were in and I won't tell anyone either. The last thing we need is hoards of ghost hunters wrecking the tranquility and solace of this area.
The inside of the house made some great images and an old chimney was outside. I'll check this again in the summer as I suspect that in the baking heat of the sun, there will be quite a few black snakes sunbathing on the stones ledges.
Spring was starting to peek up from the ground and all around the house where clumps of green daffodil shoots, so I'd like to return in three weeks when they'll be in full bloom. And check that front door again at the same time...
We noticed the temperature had dropped as we left the house after about 20 minutes. Was this due to our visitor or maybe because the snow was supposedly heading our way? Rob sent a text from Gordonsville where it had started coming down hard. The sun was setting behind the mountains so we picked up our pace and headed to the car. Back to Meadow House for pizza and beers in front of the blazing fire.
And the snow never came...

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