Despite forecasts to the contrary, it was a gorgeous May evening as we headed from our various locations to the “Top of the World” on Reddish Knob. A call for help had come just a bit over week before from the United States Forest Service North River Ranger Station. The trimming of overgrowth at the parking area on Reddish Knob had exposed the trash beneath and there was concern that it would become unavailable for clean up if something wasn’t done before regrowth occurred. This call from USFS in and of itself is a major milestone for Headwaters. State and Federal agencies are so constrained by budget cuts that they tend to hesitate to engage with volunteer groups because of the perceived need to “manage” them and the lack of manpower available to engage in such “management”.
But Headwaters is making a name for itself in the Augusta/Rockingham area and the call indeed did come for help – and so, we responded – gladly! We came from Harrisonburg, Weyers Cave, New Hope, Bridgewater, Mt. Sidney and Mt. Crawford. Headwaters had spread the word to other stakeholder groups – like the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition and the Friends of Shenandoah Mountain who also responded. We came with two trucks and willing hands and sure feet.
It had been many years since some of us had been to this amazing spot: Reddish Knob of Shenandoah Mountain is one of the highest points in Virginia, rising to 4,397 feet (1,340 m). No other peak rises higher to the northeast until you come to New York’s Adirondacks. A narrow, paved road reaches the summit from Harrisonburg. Once you arrive and look over the 360 degree edge – the first thought is: I’m not going down there! The slope must be 55 degrees or more in many places. So you start slow and do the easy stuff first and the next thing you know you are where you said you would not go!
We left after about two hours, just before sunset with our two truck beds full of bagged trash, a plastic car fender, a metal chair and a tire. We had met some new friends and strengthened our bonds with old friends. We left Reddish Knob spruced up and shining in the sun. It was a great evening – full of fun, reward and camaraderie. I’d do it again! Will you join us?
– RoxAnna Theiss, May 22, 2014